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Victory follows arm-twisting and cajoling

Nick Robinson | 23:47 UK time, Wednesday, 11 June 2008

A victory, say Gordon Brown allies, is a victory. The prime minister, they say, ignored warnings that he'd lose the vote, he stuck to his principles and he did what he believed was right.

It was though a nine vote victory delivered thanks to nine unionist votes and was a victory that came at a price.

Ministers and the DUP insist that no deals were done but Unionist MPs grin widely when asked about future financial help for the province.

Labour MPs meeting in the Commons tearoom asked each other "What have you been offered by Gordon?" Some have been told about a relaxation of sanctions against Cuba, others about improved support for sick miners.

Talking of the sick, one Labour MP fighting cancer was asked to leave his hospital bed to vote with the government. Another was wheeled in to the building in a wheelchair after an operation.

So, Gordon Brown did win but he could not do so with the votes of his party alone - even after all the wooing, the arm twisting and the cajoling

It was not the victory he would have wanted.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I'm not one normally prone to harsh judgements, but Gordon seems to have completely lost the plot. Just what was the point of this unnecessary battle. And the vote is no victory at all - and everybody except Gordon can see it. Thank fully we have the House of Lords to save us (again) ... though even they have let us down over the referendum.

  • Comment number 2.

    It simply beggars belief that this was ever a matter of principle. The Government started this ball rolling last year when it was still popular. It was intended to paint the Tories as weak on terrorism.

    How the wheel has turned. Brown's weakness is confirmed again. He cannot win the argument on the evidence or enforce his will through the whips.

    The victory was undoutedly bought with taxpayer's money and with quiet deals. This does not smack of principle, only of political necessity.

    What deals will have to be done when the Bill returns from the Lords? How much will it cost the country then?

  • Comment number 3.

    Some of this morning's headlines (websites)

    "Brown wins critical vote..." FT

    "Brown wins crunch terror vote" Sun

    "PM wins 42 day vote..." Telegraph

    Granted the papers (Indy and Telegraph in particular) have tried to present this as a loss, but they're the best headlines he's had since last october.

    For once the Number 10 spinning machine sounds believable: a win is indeed a win

  • Comment number 4.


    You do us (your readers) a severe injustice. Come clean on the DUP deal (if any).

    Are you saying that ministers and the DUP are liars and that a deal has been done?

    Or are you recklessly impuning the integrity of our political masters (for masters they are, even if servants they claim to be).

    I think the british public have had enough of 'understandings' and similar arrangements - as the uproar over expenses demonstrates.

    Give it to us straight (if you are a journalist) and if not, then you give us nothing.

  • Comment number 5.

    In a way the news said it all.

    Brown wins a vote on an arbitrary 42 day detention without charge extension that was not needed.

    The DUP picked up a place on the select intelligence committee I believe.

    We have documents about al Qaeda - from the cabinet office - found on a train.

    Is there going to be any real effort to change the culture that allows that sort of complacency - perhaps a few words for the cameras and then zip.

    It was a bad day for democracy.

    It was a good day for pork barrel politicians.

    This may or may not come back to haunt the DUP.

    If the SNP win the 2010 independence referendum, Plaid Cmyru may follow suit....

    Will the UK exist in twenty years?

  • Comment number 6.

    If offers and deals have been made then i would hope they are made public.

    I don't know who is worse people offering them or people taking them but neither are fit to be in any position of authority.

    It might appear that he has won but this will be a millstone round his neck.

  • Comment number 7.

    that is what politics is about....twisting one's arm to get them to understand what you are saying.

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely the last time a Labour government was propped up by Unionist votes like this was in the Spring of 1979? Gordon Brown might want to think long and hard about that particular historical parallel...

  • Comment number 9.

    If Gordon Brown has promised extra funding where is it going to come from?
    The recent increase in the tax free allowance was funded by borrowing. The UK is now close to its yearly borrowing limits which means it will have to raise taxes or cut services elsewhere with the votes Gordon brought.

    What will he do when the bill gets another reading?

  • Comment number 10.

    As experts have been saying on the box the extension beyond 28 days is likely to be needed i the next couple of years, so this vote is likely to save British lives soon.

    Now where is the commenter who was saying "Bring the bombs on" - sort of DB Close - like, when the WIndies had their first battery of fast bowlers and helmets were considered a bit whimpish?

    My kind of nutter, can we watch?

  • Comment number 11.

    Thanks to the DUP, I find myself living in a land that continues to become less and less free. An opportunity to start turning the tide back has been lost.

    Do we have to retain the union with Northern Ireland? Right now, if the rest of the UK had a referendum on the matter, I'd vote to terminate the union.

    Anyway, this 42 days issue isn't over, yet. I'm looking forward to the Lords rejecting it. I'm also wondering what difference, if any, the government's "win" will make to their place in the opinion polls.

  • Comment number 12.

    04:37 am on 12 Jun 2008, Active_Citizen

    I gather that if the Lords rejects it it will eventually go through on HMG's say so.

    Let's hope it isn't needed in the meantime.

    Constitutional complexities, y'know . . .

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    02:36 am on 12 Jun 2008, Stefano510

    While I doubt that the situations are parallel in other significant ways it should not escape the intelligentsia that the last date for a Parliamentary General Election is June 3rd 2010 (nearly 2 years), while poor old Callaghan only had a few months to face the greedy unions after he didn't pick Sept - Nov '78 as he should have . . .

    How different.

  • Comment number 15.

    The United Kingdom is slightly safer in practice, and the principle that our country comes ahead of a group of Old Etonians and other jobless politicians (for the most part) has been reinforced.

    One vote is enough as Churchill said.

  • Comment number 16.

    What a relief for the Tories, if GB had lost the vote he could well have been taking a ride down the Mall rather than continuing to swing in the wind as he is now doing on the end of a (Democratic) Unionist rope.

    Clearly in office, but not in power; or control of his own destiny.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    15 quietsapple

    If the legislation is enacted the UK might be a little safer, but the consensus is that it will take a long time, if ever, for the enactment.

    It will have a hard time in the Lords, Labour will probably have to force it through with the Parliament Act, and it will probably be ruled illegal in Brussels.

  • Comment number 19.

    If that is the precise route I suspect that The Parliament Act will have primacy, whatever Brussels wants.

  • Comment number 20.

    Thank goodness GB won even by paying the Unionists off. He has to be kept in office (I won't say power) untill the next election so that this incompentent bunch will be kicked out and the nation can start to be rebuilt which is going to be a mammoth task.

  • Comment number 21.

    7:39 am on 12 Jun 2008, skynine tosh!

    Never any question that even the current larf a minute opposition were treating this security matter as an issue of confidence.

  • Comment number 22.

    In PMQ's DC stated that MP's should be allowed to vote with their conscience on this matter. I hope then he has the decency to discipline the members of his own party, one of whom had to be warned by the Speaker, who barracked Anne Widecombe for voting with the Government.

    What is ironic is that most of the opponents wanted some type of lesser charge being brought to justify extended detention. The trouble is that by doing this AND allowing further questioning we erode far more liberties.

    Some terrorist trials take over a year to be heard. Where does the questioning stop?

    Longer pre-charge detention if far preferable to this. The Tories are all at sea on this. Their behaviour after the vote confirms to me they just wanted a win.

    For those who still persist in believing this was a conscience vote for Tories ask yourself this. If you took just under 200 Tory voting members of the public, selected at random and following the ethnic / gender make up of the current crop of Tory MP's, how many would have supported this bill?

    Far more than 1.

  • Comment number 23.

    Had all Conservative MP's had have voted with their concience as the Labour rebels did, the Government would have enjoyed a much healthier majority.
    Thre were quite a number of Conservative MP's who agreed that 42 days was the correct course of action, and chose to abstain. Shame on them for playing party political politics instead of following their instincts by voting for what they know is the right course of action to take. Shame on them.

  • Comment number 24.

    I was absolutely staggered yesterday when I heard our Prime Minister reel of the numbers of e-mails and languages that had to be translated. Sooner or later the Security Services would run up against a terrorist threat on a scale so large that to get through just the IT work, 28 days would most certainly have been insufficient.
    Anybody who doubts this should look up Hansard today to find the numbers only that the PM stated yesterday. It was a staggering ammount. After listening to what he had to say even the most doubting of Thomas's surely would have trouble coming to terms with the reality of the true nature of the situations that could and very likely will happen in the near future.

  • Comment number 25.

    22# Absolutely Right and well said. The very hypocracy of Tories and their supporters I suspect but only an opinion that the majority of Tory MPs if free to do so would be inclined to support this new power. There may be some truth in saying that Kabour were trying to outmanouvre the Tories in the "tough on terror" front BUT not to the extent that Cameron and friends voting against purely on the grounds of maximum Party Political gain. Party first, Country second!

  • Comment number 26.

    Mr Robinson, no matter how much it goes against the grain Mr Brown won, Mr Cameron lost.

    Maybe your next blog will be about the arm twisting and cajoling Mr Cameron did to keep his party and others on side. What did he promise the DUP to vote with him?

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm sure this isn't the outcome the Prime Minister was hoping for. I say outcome because victory strikes me as being too triumphalistic. How many politicians voted with sound minds, or who got caught up in the power games is something for them to reflect on privately. As heads cool people will come to understand the purpose of this law and may, in time, look back and laugh at how silly they were.

    If politicians, media, and public don't learn from this affair then terrorists won't need to go planting bombs. Britain will just follow the Mugabe style politics of people like Cameron over the edge and implode as a failed state. The British economy has structural issues, is running on momentum, and most of its existing products and services can be sourced from anywhere. It's the biggest suicide bomb in history.

    In a funny way, this may well be the best result for the government as the individual and collective failings of people get flushed out. Developing proper confidence and communication skills, and the internal space to ride over short-term difficulty is key to fixing macro-economic issues, governance, and building success in ordinary people's lives. I doubt anyone would survive an audit but it is, at least, a beginning of something new.

    Zen mind, beginners mind. You know the drill.

  • Comment number 28.

    There is no other way to describe this other than a pyrhic victory.

    Brown has had to cut major deals to get his vote. If he fails to deliver on those deals then those people will vote against him from then on as a matter of course.

    For instance, he makes promises regarding Cuba and sanctions. Who in their right mind thinks for one minute that the UK will go agaionst the USA regarding Cuban sanctions?

  • Comment number 29.


    I get the feeling your many posts that your views are simply class based. Which is a shame because I don't see that which school you went to marks you out as a toff or an idiot?

    Was Tony Blair a toff or an idiot for going to a private school and then Oxford Uni?

    Or how about Ms Smith who also when to Oxford? Or perhaps Mr Darling? A privately educated man!

    So do us all a favour take your class war somewhere else. Argue your case on its merits but do try and avoid petty jealousy.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well, I don't know about you but I feel a whole safer now that I know we'll be locking people up without charge.

    The Lords are going to maul this bill and I cannot help thinking that this is what Miserable Gord wants. If he can convince people that being afraid and locking people up without charge is "the right thing to do" then he can turn on the "unpopular" Lords and try and usher in more reforms to shut them up.

    Take away his power and then the seedy politics that he likes to dabble in will be unobstructed.

  • Comment number 31.

    I wonder how those Labour MP's who backed Brown will feel about their new allies in the DUP. One of whose MP's, Iris Robinson, claimed last week that homosexuals can be "turned" by psychiatric counselling. One of the reasons why Tony Blair made concessions to Sinn Fein in the peace process was to get back at UUP leader David Trimble for propping up the Major government. Brown is political dead meat and Cameron is going to be PM after the next election, Peter Robinson has just made himself an enemy of the man who is likely to be PM for most of the next decade. What goes around...

  • Comment number 32.

    What do other European countries do? Any chance of some news gathering?

  • Comment number 33.

    Davis Davies said yesterday that this bill would be defeated in the Lords. Who knows, he may be right.
    However the PM did say quite correctly last night, that this bill was going through even in had had to use the Parliament act to do so, quite right too.
    The people of this Country according to polls, think Brown's is the correct course of action to take. Not Camerons silly ideas which have spectacularly backfired on him and David Davies.
    Cameron-et-al cannot condemn Brown about not listening to the people, with one breath, when on this occasion he certainly has, then in the next breath Cameron goes on to accuse him of not doing what is right, but what is popular.
    Cameron will never be PM material in my book the man has no convictions what-so-ever
    He thought he was onto a surefired winner with this one. Now it has spectacularly backfired on him.
    The Conservative MP who asked the first question at PMQ's belongs more in the playground than representing a constituency as an MP, his question was childish in the extreme and pure bad taste for a day when minds should have been concentrating on what is the best course of action to take, to safeguard the population of this Country from the threat of terrorists which is a PM first duty.
    Instead of turning the Mother of all Parliaments into a cheap Music Hall performance, where cheap crude jokes are played out to be laughed at by the ignorant of society, as some Conservative MP's did yesterday.
    I think it is about time that people reminded these Conservatives who are playing at politics with such a serious issue that a lot of people, myself included think than safety is more important than banging suspected terrorists up for an extra 14 days, until the Security people have really checked this out.
    After all whose rights are more important, mine for the innocent to be safe and sure, or a would be terrorist escaping the net because his human rights have been violated?
    If someone is banged up and it proves to be wrong, fair enough, that is happened in the past, it will happen in the future. Then they are free to pursue any legal case to be compensated.

  • Comment number 34.

    08:45 am on 12 Jun 2008, secondSpanners

    On the contrary, while I turned down the opportunity of a choral scholarship to St Pauls and a likely academic one to follow I hve lways got on well with the public school abd toffeee folk I have come across, including: a g/f from Cheltenham ladies college, a sister in law who was an Honourable before her marriage, and a local Lord in the days when the H o L included such folk.

    But I am not so stupid as to insist, as Cameron D does with his Shadow cabinet, on recruiting all my friends, milkmen, or colleagues from one public school's old boys.

    By the way, are you really so foolish as to try and give me the bums rush by telling me how to think?

    Neeooow which public school did you go to? Bullingdon Club anyone? Or the Piers Gaveston?

  • Comment number 35.

    We must congratulate Gordon on his achieving a hollow victory rather than a phyrric victory.

    Surely a triumph for the tax payer and worth all the bribes paid out?

    With Gordon Bean we are going to have to put up with 2 more years of this arm twisting over increasingly pointless 'faux-macho' legislation - oh the joys of weak leadership..........

  • Comment number 36.

    Jasper39 @ 24

    Surely the police and intelligence services should be doing the translating and chasing the emails *before* someone is detained?

    If they are involved in a plot, then their very detention will signify to any other members of the plot that they have been compromised and send them scuttling to ground.

    The police and intelligence services already had powers to use covert surveillance on anyone they suspected of being involved in a plot, and this should have been used to gather the evidence required to garner a prosecution.

    There is NO NEED to extend the current 28 day period to 42. Simply using the measures already in place - RIP Act, Civil Contingencies, etc - would have been sufficient. This is security theatre for the present, with the very real possibility of function creep moving it into removal of anyone who protests against the Government.

    Coupled with the previous day's vote that allows the Government to decide whether a coroner's court is held in private or not, we are heading toward the dictatorship mentality of 1970's Argentina. The disappeared will die and no-one will know how.

    We have been sold down the river. I am ashamed to be English.

  • Comment number 37.

    08:36 am on 12 Jun 2008, Red Lenin

    Looks pretty likely the US policy will change.

    Their Senate wanted a change a year or two back, and Cuba is changing, however slowly.

    Plenty of room for the UK and Canada etc to bring change to the US policy, whomever wins their election.

  • Comment number 38.

    A victory, but a hollow meaningless one at that

    The vital issue for Brown became the need to win at any cost to reassure himself, the Party and the public he still commands his MP's

    For the number who look beyond the gloss, it's clear he still doesn't hold any of these things, no matter how hard the spin machines try to 'sex it up'

  • Comment number 39.

    08:29 am on 12 Jun 2008, anthonyagain

    Thanks best laugh of the day for:

    "Maybe your next blog will be about the arm twisting and cajoling Mr Cameron did to keep his party and others on side. What did he promise the DUP to vote with him?"

    A letter from his cousin The Queen? Or a troupe of fags from Eton?

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    For such an important issue to have been used by opposition parties as a stick to beat a weak PM with is grotesque really. You can argue that "that's politics" but haven't both the major political parties promised an end to "Punch and Judy" politics in recent memory?

    Legislation should always be decided on it's merits, not because political opportunists scent blood in the water. Yesterday's vote was the latest in a long line of unedifying political spectacles and is one of the biggest reasons for voter apathy, the electorate today realise that the law of the land matters far far more than the opportunity to crow at a government's discomfiture.

    Abstaining from such an important vote is a profoundly dishonourable dereliction of parliamentary duty, it is a naked act of putting party loyalty before your own beliefs (since voting yay or nay at least preserves the impression that you voted according to your principles), and if that's the case then why have a parliament at all? you may as well have the main parties put up a cabinet each and count the national vote, winner takes all.

    This can't be what democracy is supposed to be about is it?

  • Comment number 42.

    Jasper39 (#23)

    "Shame on them for playing party political politics instead of following their instincts by voting for what they know is the right course of action to take"


    Your argument that the Tories should have voted with their consciences for this Bill would have some validity if the same right was given to Labour MPs. If there had been a free vote there can be little doubt that the Bill would have been defeated with a large majority.

    But that's not how the system works.

    Anyway, it was Gordon Brown that was playing party politics, trying to be "tough on terror", not the Tories.

    I fear this will come back to haunt the Government and GB in particular. They picked the wrong fight and nearly lost it, and had to buy off the DUP (literally or metaphorically, we'd all like to know) to survive.

    Poor politics as well as wrong in principle.

  • Comment number 43.

    21 Quietapple
    "Never any question that even the current larf a minute opposition were treating this security matter as an issue of confidence".
    I never intended to imply that it was a matter of confidence in the Government, however it would have been the end of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister and that isn't in the Tories interests.

  • Comment number 44.

    Should anyone be uncomfortable with a handful of DUP MPs holding the balance of power over the entire UK - remember this is precisely the situation the Lib Dems want for themselves...

    The majority controled at the whim of special interest groups - who may well have total honor and integrity on their core issues, but are prostitutes on all others...

  • Comment number 45.

    Those on the Conservative benches who really wanted to vote FOR. Might get what they want and the Labour party will take all the flak. Best of both worlds for them. Probably some pro Europeans feel the same about the lisbon treaty.

    As they can detain people anyway by declaring emergency powers, and so long as it is as rare as if you had to. It could be OK.

    I would much prefer it if we had information on the alternative of invoking of emergency powers instead of the gossip of party politics.

  • Comment number 46.

    A very sad day for the British way of life.

    Thankfully, another part of the British way of life, the House of Lords, will surely come to our rescue and treat this totalitarian bill the contempt it deserves. And it's not that long ago that I would have been utterly astonished to hear myself singing the praises of the House of Lords.

    One thing puzzles me, however: I've heard people talking about forcing this through with the Parliament Act if the Lords try to stop it. I understood the Parliament Act could only be used to force through a manifesto commitment, but there was nothing in the 2005 manifesto about locking people up for 42 days. In fact it even says (page 53) "Police and other law enforcement agencies now have the powers they need to ... hold suspects for extended questioning while charges are brought." That seems a pretty indication to me that they didn't foresee the need to lock people up for any longer.

    Nick, could you clarify the situation re the Parliament Act?

  • Comment number 47.

    The thing is we are no safer now than we ever were!

    People can still be detained for longer than 28 days, just like they could before the vote!

    All we have now is a slightly pointless piece of legislation and a lot of broad grins from MP's who have, once again, had their way with the Government!

  • Comment number 48.

    Bring on the Witchhunt, sorry, terrorist hunt! Does Gordon Brown realise what he has done or does the courage of his convictions carry him through on a wave of optimism that what he has done, is for Britain and the safety of the British people? Taking tough decisions (begging for support) does not always result in making the right decision. At least though, when I am arrested and not told why, my character asassinated, my family terrified my job gone along with a lot of my friends who will now be afraid to associate with me, I will be able to claim some compo, sometime, never! At this rate we won't have to worry about immigration any longer. No Brits will want to live here and immigrants would prefer a country that isn't going to persecute them for breathing. Gordon, well done.

  • Comment number 49.

    Oh dear 09:16 am on 12 Jun 2008, wmgodwin telling that old lie again? Kindly apologise, or I shall ask for your post to be removed.

    grandantidote wrote:

    " . . . Lets try to lay this one to rest, although I dont suppose that there are any Tories out there that will let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    "Mr Walter Wolfgang who obviously was a disgruntled labour man was at the Labour conference, sat well back.

    "There were several thousand people there that had come along to hear Jack Straw, when he began his speech, Mr Wolfgang, as he was entitled to do shouted liar, Jack carried on with his speech, Wolfgang once again shouted liar once again Jack went on with his speech, this carried on for several minutes and people were starting to get restless as this gentleman was not who they had come to hear.

    "The security guards, not anyone to do with labour appeared and asked the old chap to be quiet, which of course he did'nt comply, so the security guards removed him from the hall.

    "When he was escorted outside two police officers walked across to him and struck up a friendly conversation with him. the terrorist act had been discussed over the last few days and was a bit of a hot topic and as a joke one of the police officers said laughingly to Walter if you dont behave we will have to arrest you under the terrorist act with which they all had a laugh.

    "Tony Blair apologised to Mr Wolfgang within hours, The Tories have been trying to make political capitol out of these events ever since. I know because I saw it as it happened, so please stop repeating this simply untrue story."

  • Comment number 50.

    A win is definitely not a win if you have to resort to bribery.

    You should be making this point very clearly.

  • Comment number 51.

    An interesting position for the Gordon Brown NewLabour party to get itself into.

    This is called winning the vote but not the argument. Or bribery is another name.

    The bribery is with our money, of course. We have two more years of the financially incontinent Gordon Brown splashing around with our cash. It's a most unattractive prospect.

    The irony is that Lord Falconer and others will oppose it in the Lords and we'll end up spending a fortune on something that is highly unlikely to hit the statute books.

    So now Brown moves into new territory - rather than spend vast pools of cash achieving very little, he's moved onto blatant waste on things that will never happen.

    It's an achievement, of sorts. He really is going headlong for the record of worst prime minister in history. Loathed by his party, disrespected by his ministers and detested by his own voters for the 10p tax fiasco.

  • Comment number 52.

    Ring ring:

    'This is Gordon'


    'You'll be voting for me tonight!'


    'I can break you, you know!'

    'I've no doubt you could but it's still no'.

    'I can dance on your grave at de-selection'.

    'I suppose you could, but it's a no.'

    'I hate you!'

    'I know.'

    Do you like Knighthoods?'


    'So that's a yes, then and I can rely on you.'


    'Thank you for doing business, Sir Keith.'

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 54.

    From the BBC website, report dated Septermber 28th, 2005.

    "Walter Wolfgang, from London, was ejected from the hall after shouting "nonsense" as Foreign Secretary Jack Straw defended Iraq policy.

    Police later used powers under the Terrorism Act to prevent Mr Wolfgang's re-entry, but he was not arrested. "

    Seems clear enough to me.

  • Comment number 55.


    "Nick, could you clarify the situation re the Parliament Act?"

    I second that. Not in the 2005 Labour Manifesto => Parliament Act does not apply.

    Or are we missing something?

  • Comment number 56.


    The manifesto thing with relation to the Parliament Act works like this (I think).

    There is a convention (called the Salisbury convention) which says that, if a bill was in the manifesto, then the Lords will NOT block it, as it has a mandate from the people. If however it did not appear in the manifesto, then the Lords are free to block it. If they DO block it, over two parliamentary sessions, over a period of at least a year, then the Parliament Act can be used to override the Lords.

    So, best guess is that the Lords can delay it for about a year, and then we wait for judges to declare it incompatible with Human Rights law, and Brussels to declare it illegal.

  • Comment number 57.

    Chad Sexington,

    as I said in another context in a previous blog, you are living in a fantasy land if you think that *Brown* wasn't engaging in the unedifying spectacle of implementing unnecessary legislation precisely as a stick with which to beat the Tories over 'security'. Of course, what we are now left with is a pernicious piece of legislation to be filed under 'security and control' along with reams of similar legislation in recent years, and with more to come.

    I agree that legislation should be decided on its merits, but disagree that those opposing this legislation were mere 'political opportunists scenting blood in the water'.

    Do those 'political opportunists' include Diane Abbot, Sir Ken MacDonald, Lord Falconer, Lord Goldsmith and Elish Angliolini?

    I see Hardwidge is still here, calling opposition to the legislation 'boneheaded', which is quite the insult for the aforementioned. At least they're not Nazi insurrectionaries today.


  • Comment number 58.

    How entertaining! The two opposition parties with their Blair-alike leaders trying to make political capital out of a key piece of potential legislation. And simultaneously the Government is embarrassed by the abject carelessness of a member of its permanent security staff. Is this good or bad timing? it depends on your perspective!

  • Comment number 59.

    You may find this short article regarding the Parliament Act interesting - written in 2004 when foxhunting was the issue in question.

  • Comment number 60.


    To be frank I was bemoaning the moral bankruptcy of both sides it wasn't a partisan attack taken as a whole, I assume at least Abbott and Widdecombe voted as their consciences dictated, however I stand by my statement that MP's that abstained rather than go against the wishes of their leader have committed a dereliction of their duty as MP's and representatives for party political reasons, and that cannot be right.


  • Comment number 61.

    I see Hardwidge is still here, calling opposition to the legislation 'boneheaded', which is quite the insult for the aforementioned.

    There are issues of reason and attitude people may wish to reflect on. Sober comment doesn't seem to get much attention at the moment but people will perform like excited chimpanzees with a piece of shiny tinfoil. That's just human nature. There's plenty of books on it.

    Both the Prime Minister and Tony McNulty, the Home Office Minister, get this which is why the government is pursuing a more solid, low-key, and long-term approach. Labour is thinking in decades versus the Tories thinking in quarterly results. Again, the mechanics of the low versus high roads are well documented.

    Unlike Hazel Blear's, I don't think this is 'mid-term blues'. It's the failed state mentality kicking in. Britain has a choice between the vision, teamwork, and long-term approach of Gordon Brown, or it can just be pushed over the edge of the continental shelf by an unreformed Tory party. Sometimes, life is that black and white.

    This positive outcome for Gordon Brown is a good enough result. There's no need to crow or posture. Likewise, the Tories need to stop trying to own the whole pie like they're the pro-business nasty party. People need to focus more on policy and consensus. If I don't see it hurting them its just more talk and that won't do.
  • Comment number 62.

    Quietzapple @49 wrote:

    "Oh dear 09:16 am on 12 Jun 2008, wmgodwin telling that old lie again? Kindly apologise, or I shall ask for your post to be removed."

    What a pompous, censorious attitude. Is it any wonder that people that people with your authoritarian inclinations support the withdrawal of our hard won liberties?

  • Comment number 63.

    The next General Election has to be held before 3 June 2010, as laid down in the Parliament Acts.

    That is exactly in the next 104 weeks.

    I have excluded the summer months and the Christmas periods to further reduce this to a possible 58 Thursdays.

    There are 14 possible Thursdays in 2008.
    There are 18 possible Thursdays before the summer of 2009.
    There are 11 possible Thursdays after the summer of 2009.
    There are 15 possible Thursdays in 2010.

    The election will not happen in 2008, which means Gordon’s choice is further reduced. If we then completely ignore the month of November in 2009 and two Easters, then this leaves 30 possible Thursdays before the next General Election.

    Further refinements could easily halve that number.

  • Comment number 64.

    Sad but predictable that quietzapple, clearly a New Labour apologist, should ignore (9.41 am) my substantive point about consitutional safeguards and try instead to cast doubt on the illustration I gave about New Labour's indifference to civil liberties. Thanks to Grawth for beating me to it by digging out the facts on the Wolfgang case. There are of course many many other illustrations one could give, starting with the lie that took us to war in the first place.

  • Comment number 65.

    Anyone who has the audacity to state that this law was needed is living in a fool's paradise.

    The simple fact is that these people are suspects, not terrorists. As someone else has stated, surely it is better to covertly monitor these people? If they are arrested, and are indeed part of a plot, then the other plotters will realise the game is up, and compromise the investigation.

    What we are now left with is a poor piece of legislation, which allows the internment of individuals for six weeks on a whim, which could ruin their career and lives, to be compensated with £3000 per day if later released. This money is yours and mine, yet more taxpayers' money wasted.

    Who here really knows what the definition of a terrorist may be in twenty years time when this ill thought out piece of legislation is still on the statute books? Walter Wolfgang anyone? Protesting at the Cenotaph or outside Parliament?

    Wake up , Sheeple!

  • Comment number 66.


    There is a BBC news story (

    Which says:-
    "There were no deals," Mr Brown told a Downing Street media conference.

    It doesn't seem to just refer to the DUP.

    Can you substantiate your claim that deals were done (whether with the DUP, or with anyone else)?

    Who are we to beleive - you or the Prime Minister?

  • Comment number 67.

    The spectacle of Brown's blatant playing to public fears and sentiments, pausing only to accuse Cameron of opportunism and opposition for the sake of it, is beyond Orwell.

    What next ? Bring back hanging ?

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    Charles hardwidge,

    I am amazed that you still maintain that Team brown proposed this legislation (which was said by - sorry to repeat myself here, but you have yet to even attempt to discuss this particular issue - Ken MacDonald, Lord Falconer, Lord Goldsmith and Diane Abbott to be unneccessary) with only the long-term security of this country as their guide and goal.

    To be sure, and for all their posturing, I can quite easily believe 'circumstances and reflection' will mean a future Tory government will not at all repeal this pernicious legislation, putting a lie to their pretensions to principle.

    But to assert that this legislation was primarily about long-term security, and not part of the long war against the Tories and positioning Labour as 'strong on terror' takes, to my mind, a blinkered imagination.

    All principled opposition to 42 days detention was not about 'quarterly results', because not all opposition came from the Tories, but was also based on considered, long-term thinking about decades ahead.

    To turn this in to a bi-partisan argument (you're either with your Blessed Leader, on this and every other matter or you are with the Tories) does a disservice to the faculties of human understanding, reason and debate. It requires that one ignore quite where opposition for 42 days detention came from, accross the politica spectrum. Finally, it makes cruel mockery of your wish for consensus - because the only type of consensus commensurate with that approach is to back Team Brown whatever they do.

    If this issue is as balck and white as you suggest, I would counter that it may well be, but not for the reason you suggest.

    I'll leave you with some of the words of Diane Abbott (no tory quisling she) in what was probably the speech of her career:

    "As has been said throughout this debate, the first duty of parliament is the safety of the realm. It is because I believe that the proposals on 42-day detention will make us less safe, not more safe, that I oppose them. I do not take terrorism lightly...

    this is not an objective, evidence-driven bill. It is the purest politics. It is about the polls and about positioning. It is about putting the Conservative party in the wrong place on terrorism...

    The case has not been made up until now and it has not been made in this debate."

    Please do go and read it in full.


  • Comment number 70.

    This issue has just become another attention bubble whose skin is stretching to bursting point. When it pops, a lot of people are going to be feeling a little silly. Joan Smith has a good comment on the pro-corporate and selfish approach Cameron has been championing and the bandwagon heroes have been cheering on.

    It's always gratifying when the Tories show their true colours. Yesterday, as new figures demonstrated the widening gap between rich and poor, the Conservatives denounced a deal giving modest rights to 1.3 million of the most vulnerable workers in Britain. "Business will be dismayed that when they most need a Government on their side, they have a Government getting on their backs," thundered the Tory employment spokesman Jonathan Djanogly, son of a wealthy industrialist.

    Bosses' organisations joined in, complaining angrily about the "interfering nanny state" and raising the spectre of Labour's employment policy being dictated by the unions, even though the new rights for temporary workers are the result of a deal between the European Union and the British Government.

    Welcome to the Tory future, only two years from now, when ministers from privileged backgrounds will join forces with their mates in business to protect the low-wage economy which condemns millions of people to a lifetime of poverty.

    There is only one route out of poverty.
    The Independent.
    Joan Smith.

    The anti-42 day and post election issues are very fact light. The media have wound themselves up to sell newspapers and the Tories have wound themselves up to gain votes. Other vested interests and fair-weather friends have joined the mad-dog rush as market panic has taken hold but it's all an illusion.

    Gordon Brown's vision of developing personal success, consensus, and looking beyond the next quarter runs against the old game of winners and losers. The Tory's remain symbolic of "old politics" and are trying to project that onto the "new politics" of Gordon Brown. Quit rightly, not everyone buys that lie.

  • Comment number 71.

    Does anyone agree that should Brown be forced to resign in the near future the person taking over will need to call a General Election because he/she will not have a mandate?

    I ask this as I firmly believe that GB staying as PM is not in the interests of either the Labour party or the Country as a whole.

    As many know I am a Conservative voter. I am sure that GB staying in power (but not in control) is in the best interests of the Conservative party

  • Comment number 72.

    ShldbeSheepish 11:36 am on 12 Jun 2008, DialSquareDomination

    You don't think that the police and security services prefer their own strategies to your home made, World Flock Domination insticncts?

  • Comment number 73.

    #66 "Who are we to beleive - [Nick Robinson} or the Prime Minister?"


    I know who i'd believe! Contrary to what Tories and Labourites thionk, NR is not biased either way.

    Every time we see an anti Labour story from Nick we get the inevitable NR hate Labour tripe and, when we see a pro-Labour story we get the same from Tories!

    We all know the journo's have access to an awful lot they can never print and in this, as in many other, circumstances, i am inclined to think the NR is probably telling the truth!

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    09:23 am on 12 Jun 2008, skynine

    On the contrary the Tories do want rid of Gordon Brown asap and always have. The saner of them respect his acumen and considerable talents and successes.

    That is why their media spent so much effort trying to get up a serious challenger to him i Labour's Leadership election. It got very tedious I found.

    Why also they even delayed calling the Henley Byelection, to ensure that Johnson B was there to vote against the 42 days.

    It is why there remains a completely scurrilous and dishonest campaign of personal vilification of him among Tories of all kinds.


    Still they will have little to complain about when Cameron D is opened up to a public gaze which will find him arrogant to journalists (even on the Daily Telegraph), a PR man who went down with his TV company, and a bag carrier for the Back Wednesday set.

  • Comment number 76.

    Do people commenting on here think that they are so special and so dangerous to the government that they will be locked away for 42 days without charge? ;)

    Once a protestor gets out they will have a field day and they would be able to hammer the government in the Free press.

    What is the point of these mad theories mainly from Conservatives who were only interested in a vote of confidence. and getting that differently classed David Cameron into power. You will find many of them complaining of labour being soft on crime and Liberal left bias at the BBC elsewhere.

  • Comment number 77.

    11:59 am on 12 Jun 2008, mikepko

    Of course not.

    Any more than Eden, Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, or John Major needed to go to the country immediately on taking over from their predecessors in mid term.

    We elect a parliament, who then represent us, until the next parliament is elected.

  • Comment number 78.

    Whoops, apologies, Eden did go to the country straightaway, but not so much for a mandate as to win while he could.

  • Comment number 79.

    "ShldbeSheepish 11:36 am on 12 Jun 2008, DialSquareDomination

    You don't think that the police and security services prefer their own strategies to your home made, World Flock Domination insticncts?"

    The domination is about Arsenal football club, not quite as sinister as living in a police state.

    We have trials for a reason. We should NEVER introduce legislation that does away with this necessity before locking people up in what is essentially prison for six weeks with no charge.

    And if you think otherwise, perhaps you should go and live in a country that has indefinite detention without charge and see how you enjoy it...

    The terrorists won last night when this bill was approved.

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh and by the way Charles you're at it again aren't you: 'Mugabe style politcs' of Cameron. Are you kidding? Give us a break. And, do you really think that the way to solve the current economic mess is to 'develop proper confidence and communication skills' Do you? Furthermore, as I see it there are two types of threat that we, the public, need protecting from. One is external, invasion, terrorsm etc. the other is internal: autocratic rule. And frankly eroding our liberties is not the answer to either threat.

  • Comment number 81.

    Aren't politicians strange creatures? The government and its supporters like to cite the opinion polls that show that a majority of the public agree with 42 days detention before charge, so that means that they are doing the right thing and bowing to public opinion. Ancient liberties be blowed.

    Opinion polls also show that an even larger majority of the public want to have a say in a referendum before the EU Lisbon Treaty is ratified, but that is being refused, even though one was promised. Ancient liberties be blowed.

  • Comment number 82.

    Through terrorist activity, our law has been changed limiting our liberty and freedom.

    Who here can deny that the terrorists have scored a significant victory through fear and terror? (Which, incidentally, is precisely the reasons they do it in the first place).

    Well done all you on here supporting this crass legislation.

    What is next on your list of security measures? Perhaps we could deport all people of a slightly dusky complexion?

  • Comment number 83.

    Quietzapple @75 wrote apropos Gordon Brown:

    "It is why there remains a completely scurrilous and dishonest campaign of personal vilification of him among Tories of all kinds."

    Where is the dishonesty or vilification in stating the obvious fact that that Gordon Brown is a disingenuous and a psychologically flawed individual?

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    Drkf77 post #69

    "To turn this in to a bi-partisan argument (you're either with your Blessed Leader, on this and every other matter or you are with the Tories) does a disservice to the faculties of human understanding, reason and debate."

    See his reply (post 70) !

    It's always nice when others prove your point!

  • Comment number 86.


    have you been paying attention? You seem to be with Hardwidge and quietzapple in wishing to elide the distinction - absolutely crucial in this debate - between bipartisan politics and reasonable and considered objection to quasi-internment.

    Since Hardwidge singularly refuses to address the point, perhaps you will: are we to take Sir Ken MacDonald, Lord Falconer, Lord Goldsmith, Elish Angiolini and Diane Abbott as Tory quislings, interested only in a vote of confidence. Off with Hardwidge and read Abbott's speech!

    According to Abbott - and I tend to agree - this whole spectacle has involved the gvernment "play ducks and drakes with our civil liberties in order to get a few months' advantage in the opinion polls", so to cry 'politicking' of the opposition soiunds increasingly hollow.

    Your point about you or I being the first to be locked up for 42 days without charge is quite correct - but that's not the whole point, is it. Here's Abbott again: "I came into politics because of my concern about the relationship of the state to communities that are marginalised and suspected. It is easy to stand up for the civil liberties of our friends or of people in our trade union, but it is not easy to stand up for the civil liberties of people who are unpopular, suspected and look suspicious—people the tabloids print a horror story about every day."


  • Comment number 87.

    Here is the kind of argument you can expect from Quietzapple:

    "Look again those who bang on about magna carta, and habeus corpus, much of it has been long and rightly ignored."

    So, he is for rightly ignoring personal freedoms, because he is so insecure that he requires "HMG" (as he loves calling them) to protect him and tuck him up in bed at night.

    What more do you expect from someone who supports a party half of whose members used to be Communists?

    It's time for the Libertarians on all sides to put these autoritarian Stalinists out of power for good.

    Bring on the next election, Gordon can't hide under the table forever.

  • Comment number 88.

    09:16 am on 12 Jun 2008, wmgodwin

    I should like to point out that I didn't refer your post to the mods, I have been too busy.

    It is however, obvious that you do not take to truth easily, and that you are a persistent bender of any truth you my find close enough to your purposes.

    The principal lies re Iraq are those of people like yourself who have a sort of blanket nudge and wink lie re HMG.

    Were you like this at school?

  • Comment number 89.

    nd, do you really think that the way to solve the current economic mess is to 'develop proper confidence and communication skills' Do you?

    It would pretty much nail it. That's the short answer. If you want the longer answer there's plenty of books and courses out there, or you could have me yapping on about Zen Buddhism until the sun goes cold.
  • Comment number 90.

    Piffle 12:22 pm on 12 Jun 2008, DialSquareDomination though your team deserves some respect.

    You utterly fail to appreciate that sooner or later some of these people will be using WMDs - perhaps a dirty nuke in London - and the risk of locking the wrong people up during inquiries and as a preventative measure, subject to many safeguards, is one which most of we Britons are happy to take.

    The Tory party agrees with this too, but they are playing "Gizzajob" and Cameron D only has so many to go round, so they cried "Liberty!" and everyone with any nous thought "Liar!"

  • Comment number 91.

    I have come to understand that the magic number '42' is totally spurious.

    Perceptions are very important in politics and it was 'necessary' for Gordon Brown to try and re-establish some sort of political control and regain the 'agenda'.

    He has sort of done that with this 'victory/loss', which essentially was what it was all about.

    As I have mentioned previously on these forums, we English just have to struggle on as best we can for the next couple of years.

    Once the Scottish referendum is complete then I think you will be shocked at how quickly the so-called 'United Kingdom' will unravel.

    This Englishman is looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 92.

    A win certainly is a win but if one believes the N0 10 spin that there was no bribery,arm-twisting or other finagling; well some are conned all of the time.

    Apparently the majority in polls supported it so Brown "listened" but the majority in polls was also for a referendum and Brown did NOT listen. The degree of mendacity in UK politics these days is horrendous!

    And what a useless win. It is not yet through the Lords or the EU regulations etc. The EU is the organisation whose laws take predence over all UK legislation since we were sold down the river on the Referendum.

  • Comment number 93.

    May I suggest that viewers of the Daily Politics show of today, Thursday, go to comment 96 of Nicks Blog under the heading of 'Potential rebels with a cause' because I am sure that they will find it absolutely an amazing coincidence that the BBC went to Exeter to gauge public opinion on the detention for 42 days legislation.
    If you didn't watch the show then also be surprised that they had Ben Bradshaw, the Exeter MP, being quized by Andrew but not on the 42 days. Please understand that before becoming an MP Ben was a reporter with our local newspaper and also, I understand, used to work for the BBC.
    On the 42 days will an incident, like a suicide bomber in central London, have to actually have taken place before the 42 days detention kicks in, or will enough evidence have been collected to prevent such an attack. If the evidence has been collected then surely 42 days will never be needed because they will have sufficient evidence to prove that an attack would have taken place.
    However, will they have to let the 'attack' take place in the same way that with the enigma machine in WWII we had to let an attack take place, or warn the local inhabitants, because if we did anything to prevent it then the enemy would know that we knew, and the only way we could know was because we had cracked their code system!

  • Comment number 94.

    Oh Charles, pack it in will you. You really are reading too many 'ten steps to self confidence' type books. Don't you understand that these writers are preying on your gullibility? Look what happened to your beloved New Labour when they adopted these craaaazeeee ideas. Tony Blair (now copied by Gordon and pretty much anyone else on the TV) doing those inauthentic hand gestures and facial expresions as he tried to 'get the message across'. What about those 'ings' they dropped to convice us they were more you know 'workin (not 'ing') class' like? Do you remember these? The workin instead of working was particularly annoying don't you think? Some even do it today, they're still 'hangin' on with it. We even had some union (I'll mention no names) leaders doing it. And where did it come from? Well, I think it was another one of those silly management language fads, either learnt at the guru's knee or derived from one of those silly 'ten steps to management success' type books. Books you seem to read. But generally if you want to communicate well, here's my advice to you. Practise what you preach. Cut out the abstractions, and in particular those endless non sequiturs that pepper your awkward prose.

  • Comment number 95.

    Typical Gordon Brown; threatening/bullying his own members to vote for something they don't think's right, and bribing people from other parties to vote for something they don't think's right.

    Bribing and bullying; that's what he does best.

    It's all very well sticking to your principles, but if your principles are that you want to have a Stalinist state where people can "disappear" for 42 days without any charge purely because they disagree with the government, then the person trying to force those principles needs to get his coat and walk away from government.

    For such a critical attack on our freedoms to be bullied/bribed onto people purely so that Gordon Brown saves face is obscene.

    John Major's right; this'll have totally the opposite effect; the way Brown's gone about it and the logic he's used for it will lead to a massive boom in the recruitment of terrorists.

    Labour MPs are just as bad as Brown; voting for something they all know is wrong/evil purely to keep their own political comforts.

    Absolutely shameful from start to finish by all of Labour; I hope the Lords give it the shredding it deserves.

  • Comment number 96.

    this power is more power than a good man will ever want or a bad man should ever have, and a HUGE erosion in our liberties.
    I am horrified to think I was once a member of the Labour Party - I am deeply ashamed of the lot of them.
    You either have a fair and transparent rule of law, or you're on your way to a police state.

  • Comment number 97.

    Thanks for the information on the Parliament Act, #56 and #59: looks like I was wrong and in fact the Act can be used to push through legislation that wasn't in the manifesto.

    Let's just hope that it isn't used here.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    I find it hard to believe what I am hearing and reading. People are still on about the erosion of medieval rights with the potential extension of detention without trial for terrorist suspects.
    The only thing I can describe as medieval in recent times is the arbitrary and indiscriminate damage done to the innocent by terrorists.
    Hopefully this country has come a long way in 800 years since Magna Carta. Detention without trial was not usually an option in those dark and distant times and, if you were detained, you or your family would have had to pay for the privilege of it.
    As I said, the justice system in this country has come a long way since then.
    But if we were to go outside Europe and accidentally fall foul of the laws and customs of other countries, as has happened in recent years, could we necessarily expect a similar justice?

  • Comment number 100.

    77 quietzapple

    You can, in my opinion, select one new PM when the original stands down, but certainly not two. Agreed you select the party of government, but for most that means the PM. The country would not stand for it, and I for one would march, if not organise a march, against it.

    Mind you in this increasingly authoritarian country the police would probably arrest me - as a terrorist??? I could do with the money after 42 days!!!

    80 doctor gloom

    Its best to ignore CEH, he is only winding you up with Mugabe, just like his frequent comments about "Conservative bullies."

    His long rambling and biased missives only reinforce the out of touch nature of Old Labour.


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