PM unveils new anti-terror laws


Prime Minister David Cameron has set out plans to widen UK anti-terror laws to counter the threat of Islamic extremism.

Mr Cameron said the "poisonous ideology" of Islamic State jihadists in Syria and Iraq pose a direct threat to Europe and that a "tough patient and comprehensive" response is needed, on 1 September 2014.

Under the plans, police will be given temporary powers to seize passports at UK borders of Britons they suspect are travelling abroad to fight with terror groups. British nationals suspected of engaging in terrorist activity abroad could be prevented from returning to the country.

In addition, airlines will be legally required to hand over passenger lists to help identify jihadist fighters, and Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure orders - so-called TPims - will be reformed to include "stronger location constraints" and relocation powers on suspects, the prime minister added.

The statement came after the UK's terror threat level was raised to "severe" from "substantial" on 29 August.

'Sticks in the craw'

Labour leader Ed Miliband welcomed the proposed new powers and pledged that his party would work with the government to defeat extremism.

But he pointed out that relocation powers had been "a central part" of Labour's control orders, which were scrapped by the coalition, and told the PM it was a "mistake to get rid of them in the first place".

Mr Miliband also called for a mandatory programme of de-radicalisation "not just for those who will be under Tpims but those who have been on the fringes of extremism in Iraq and Syria".

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said there was "substantial doubt" about the legality of plans to exclude Britons from the UK, and raised questions about the practicality of such a move.

"Who would decide? Would any such suspension be without limit of time, and would any appeal be appropriate? In those circumstances, a great deal of work needs to be done on the proposal he's outlined," he told the prime minister.

Mr Cameron said it needed further consideration, but told MPs it "sticks in the craw" that a British national declaring allegiance to another state is able to return home intent on causing damage.

About 500 British nationals are believed to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight on behalf of Islamic State and other militant groups.

Conservative backbencher Heather Wheeler backed the steps announced by the PM as a "sensible and prudent approach to keeping Britain safe".

Labour former Cabinet member Peter Hain called for a full debate in government time on foreign policy "because the world's a very dangerous place at the moment". Mr Cameron told him this was being looked at.

The prime minister's wide-ranging statement also covered the weekend's summit of EU leaders, events in Ukraine, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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