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'Sexed-up' evidence?

Nick Robinson | 07:07 UK time, Wednesday, 11 June 2008

It's a serious allegation. Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti alleges that the government have sexed up the evidence for an extension of detention without charge to 42 days. Her claim comes because ministers have cited the example of two people alleged to have taken part in the alleged plot to blow up planes across the Atlantic in 2006. In these cases yet to come to court the suspects were held by the police for 27 and 28 days respectively - up to, in other words, the current legal maximum.

Shami ChakrabartiLiberty's claims are right but their defence lawyer has revealed that the police had the evidence to charge them after four days and 12 days respectively, thus demonstrating that no extension of the period allowed to the police to question terror suspects is needed.

Ministers are sure to angrily deny the charge of sexing up, a phrase that deliberately echoes the allegation made about weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the Iraq war. They will say that the police only hold suspects for as long as is necessary to gather the evidence necessary to bring the appropriate charge.

This allegation is a sign of how desperate both sides have become to sway the last few votes. Gordon Brown has taken to calling MPs who've not heard from him in two decades for long, very long, conversations.

UPDATE, 11:50AM: The government angrily reject claims that they sexed up evidence on 42 days and without talking about specific cases, point to the remarks of Sue Hemming, head of the counter-terror division in the CPS, giving evidence to the public bill committee in the House on 22 April 2008, who said:

"We certainly did not keep people in unnecessarily. There has to be a certain amount of time for the police to investigate. If you arrest people, the police have to look at what the plot is, who is involved and what the evidence is. As with any case, the pre-charge detention time has to allow a certain amount of time for the police to investigate and question. I seriously dispute any allegation that we kept people in any longer than we had to."

In the same session, Ken MacDonald, director of public prosecutions, said:

"The idea that we have sufficient evidence after 14 days, but, for some reason best known to ourselves, wait until 26 or 27 days to charge is wrong."


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  • Comment number 1.

    Shami Chakrabarti can't even understand the Human Rights act. I read the thing and it was pretty clear to me that people causing community problems got away with it because the understanding of human rights campaigners and judges was erroroneous. I wrote to my, then, Labour MP and a few weeks later Tony Blair ran with that issue. Yet, campaigners like Liberty and judges are still ignoring reason and clinging to their old understanding.

    This latest comment continues her wheeze of cluttered thinking. Perhaps the evidence was found early in the investigation but was it good enough as a single item to secure a conviction? Was it recognised as evidence at that stage? What other evidence relating to possible conspiracy charges may have been remaining to be uncovered? Shami Chakrabarti may be holding the investigators up to the light but could she withstand the same scrutiny?

    Gesture politics and hysteria are a noxious mix. This has nothing to do with a proper examination of the territory or solutions fit for purpose. This has everything to do with the campaigns of yesterday playing in people's minds. The ideological war and media driven gushing of the Thatcher and Blair years is just obscuring their minds from the realities and practicalities of today, and when I needed help people like that were nowhere to be found.

  • Comment number 2.

    I don’t think an extension beyond 28 days is required, as far as I can see there is no evidence. Having said that, I can’t believe as Liberty suggest that the Police would not charge suspects when evidence was available. I surmise that the charges were taken to the available limit while looking for further evidence and if the limit was 28 days or even a year they would use whatever time is available. And that does not in my view constitute a need!

  • Comment number 3.

    I am just stunned that (aparantly) around 60% of the population support the change.

    It seems that many of the british people have been so dreadfully conditioned, pacified and institutionalised that they actually do look to the 'state' to tell them what to do.

    If not, then I can only think that it is racial/colour prejudice - a belief that a white, european looking person with a traditional british name won't be affected by any (so called) anti-terror laws.

    Maybe they forget the thousands who have been stopped and questioned 'without reasonable cause', and the OAP hauled out of the Labour meeting by security guards while Jack Straw was talking...

    It is clear that Brown just wants to win something - just once - before he is discarded by the electorate for ever.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am really really annoyed with this government and I hope we all are, they are willing to burn our 1,000 year old rights which held through all the wars and tumoil of the last 1000 years to be torn up by a bunch of self seeking idiots like Brown, just to show how tough they are. This is a really serious trend in the WRONG direction. How dare they take our rights away like this. When Jhon Major say's he does not recognise this country (Times, Sunday8th June) then we have to sit up and listen after all this was the man who was at the centre of Margaret Thatchers ripping up of the post war concensus and who was there at the centre when the war on the "Enemy within" began with Thatcher. This is the logical conclusion of 25 years of erosion of the position of the Citizen with regards to the state. It will continue like this until we all say ENOUGH !!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Sexed up ! This is exactly the problem. It may or not be but no one is going believe anything this shower of a government says about anything after the Iraq debacle. A very dangerous situation when the population has no faith whatsoever in the administration.

  • Comment number 6.

    There is much focus on the Labour rebels, but the whole idea would be dead in the water if opposition parties voiced a clear and principled opposition to a law which changes the balance between the state and its people.

    I can't but help think that if the Tories were really set against this as a point of principle, they would simply state that they would repeal this law if they won the next General Election.

    I have a feeling that they won't make such a promise because their stance is opportunistically political.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    Surely 28 days is sufficient to gather enough evidence to charge someone if they are guilty...other European countries manage it in a week..maybe the Govt need to have more confidence in the Security services?

  • Comment number 9.

    Was on terror ?

    With changes like this either the terrorists have won and/or they are in power...

  • Comment number 10.

    It is not the citizens who are destroying the political system it is the politicians. They do not deserve our trust, our rights stand above all else and ANYONE who takes any part of those rights away deserves our derision. The political system is poisoned and will be so until we vote in politicians who actually believe in the people again. All thse law's are making us all potential criminals who need to be watched. The point is the price of Liberty is RESPONIBILITY that means we are unlitimately rsponisble ourselves, logically this also means in my case I would rather be blown up walking down Oxford st in a free country than be watched measured and criminalised at every turn.
    After all give Thatcher her Due Her whole government WAS blown up but they never implemented laws like this... This bunch are a (tory's and Labour) are a bunch of cowards who would make us all cowards if we allow them... Where is the fighting spirit, where is the dogged determination.
    People of Britain where are you ??

  • Comment number 11.

    Well done Shami Chakrabarti, a very intelligent woman and more than a match for anyone in the government.

    The thing to remember is that its not just terrorists that could be held for 42 days without trial, ITS EACH AND EVERYONE OF US.

  • Comment number 12.

    Funny? : "but their defence lawyer has revealed " - typical Robinson bias.

    Had he written says/said that would have been neutral, a normative statement.

    Drip, drip, drip . . .

  • Comment number 13.

    It seems bizarre to me that so much political effort is being invested in this matter. Parliament has previously given the government a rough ride on extended detention and in the intervening time the use of 28 days has been adequate. The case for 42 days appears unproven, based at best on requests from a couple of chief constables

    So why is Gordon Brown so set on 42 days that he has to make lengthy calls to wavering backbenchers? Surely it would be easier to compromise with his party on a shorter period?

    This could be a very bad case of machismo before common sense or there is a hidden agenda, a reason for ministers wishing to have such an extended period of detention without charge that too controversial to be used in their arguments?

    If it is the latter then we should all fear for our civil liberties.

  • Comment number 14.

    This bill is a shameful act - brought in by a desperate Prime Minister in a desperate situation in need of a desperate fix. Brown has had some political bad luck - but this is political 'mud' of his own making.

    Really, incentivizing/rewarding people for being a suspect is perverse. To do the whole thing for political reasons is a new low. Lower than the Iraq war and the dodgy dossier.

    The fact the proponents of this have to string together ifs, buts and maybes is proof enough of how hollow this is.

    When Brown welcomed Thatcher to Downing Street there was talk of him being a conviction politician. When he came into office, he promised to do his utmost. This is disingenueous politics at its worse - spin which could ultimately effect national security. Shame on your Mr Brown, and shame on any MP who is cowed into towing the Government line.

  • Comment number 15.

    The brou ha ha over all this is from the libertarian and misguided left, awkwardarians to a man/woman, and a Tory Party and its irregulars who use every issue to try and promote their electoral prospects.

    Does only Anne Widdecombe have the honesty to tell it like it is?

  • Comment number 16.

    sorry number 7

    While the media hysteria is certainly over the top over what politicians are really about (I certainly object to the comparisons with Brown and Stalin as thanks to democracy we will get rid of Brown, but only death could dispose of Stalin) the truth is that with the Sexed-Up dossier on WMD which stated their were abundant weapons on mass-destruction in Iraq when there were clearly not, and now the Imminent need for 42 day detention the politicians are detsroying our faith in political institutions.

    The Police will only charge someone, not just when it's is necessary but at the latest oint that they can do so. They don't want to charge people immediately and if they can question someone for four days and charge them or if they can hold them for 28 days and charge them then that is what they will do.

    The interesting thing is that after the big terrorists attacks the police were asking for 90 days according to blair at the time, now the police bods say that 28 days is fine, now that panic has subsided and common sense has prevailed.

    In these cases of draconian laws being passed the thing that every politician forgets is that while they may be acting in good faith, there is no saying what the next nutter in power will do with the laws you pass in faith. This needs brains and vision to recognise and in going down this route so blindly Gordon is displaying little of both.

    Very sad

    Nuff said


  • Comment number 17.

    People, and I use that term to include a huge amount of MP's, have no idea what the current legislation allows for or what is in the fine detail of the new 42 day plan.

    As I see it, there is already legislation in place to allow for a terror suspect to be held past 28 days if the police have enough reasonable evidence/suspicion. This has only ever needed to be invoked twice.

    There is no pint legislating just for the sake of legislating. In America, the home of paranoid fear of terrorists, the equivilant rules allow for a suspect to be held for 2(?) days without charge!

  • Comment number 18.

    It is clear that Brown just wants to win something - just once - before he is discarded by the electorate for ever.

    Tony Blair brought some sanity back to the Human Rights Act. That was a good thing as many peoples lives suffered and a lot of money was wasted by unsociable and criminal people having a one sided advantage. Chakrabarti still doesn't get that the Human Rights Act is not an excuse to infringe on someone else's rights under the act.

    I've read comment from the prosecutor who's used to a world where he deals with ordinary crime comment on potential crime that may involve false identities, porous borders, and one time only events. You could put the gold back into the Brinks Mat vault if you make a mistake but you can only die once. This is not a game or some TV show and some of the egos need to remember that.

    I have my issues with Liberty and the police but both can and have done good work. The problem is when people get caught up in competitive behaviour to get attention or landgrab. This is the old politics I am sick to death of. Perhaps, instead of these people mouthing off or sitting on their hands, they might try talking to each other away from the cameras. Then, maybe, we could get some peace and quiet, and Gordon Brown could get on with the job.
  • Comment number 19.

    The minute Brown's tame admiral changed his stance after a meeting with our great leader showed that even his paid mouthpieces did not believe the case for extending the time.The callous way other anti terror laws have been used question whether this law will used outside the boundaries it is meant to have.

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm tired of hearing Tony McNulty talk about 42 days being essential, an imperative, desperately needed. The same rhetoric was used for 90 days and 28 days.

  • Comment number 21.

    if "sexed up" is a euphemism for "spun" then isn't just about *everything* spun these days?

    I absolutely do not agree that an extension is required, 4 weeks is already too long to hold any person without charge. I think the level was about right at 14 days.

    Terrorism is a problem that is much more likely to be solved when we use the money and expertise we currently spend on dreaming up newer and more expensive ways of killing things, to finding newer ways to help the poverty stricken and desperate people in the world.

    Why does our military not have a crack potato growing division, one thats highly skilled in irrigation techniques, that we can parachute in to famine struck areas. Or a top plumbers battallion that could lay water pipelines miles across inhospitable terrain to give remote villages fresh running water, you know from taps, just like we take for granted???

  • Comment number 22.

    Why 42?
    42 is the ANSWER. Ask Douglas Adams.

  • Comment number 23.

    If this legislation goes through then be afraid, very afraid. My reasoning, in Nazi Germany laws were passed by people who, at first, had no idea how they were to mis-used at a later stage.
    One day this legislation may be used against you. It is always 'the terrorist' who will be detained.
    We have now realised that also inquests are to be held 'in secret' because of national security. Nothing at all to do of course with incompetence, friendly fire or illegal activity.
    The idea that compensation will be paid for any person detained where charges are not brought is ridiculous. Remember the Forest Gate arrests where somebody was shot during a police raid. What transpired was that the intelligence on this raid was flawed. How many people will use this legislation to settle old scores, in other words being vindictive because of some slight or misunderstanding.
    Enter the real world, watch, if you can, the Panorama programme of last night exposing what has been going on in Iraq post the invasion.
    This legislation now has so many conditions attached to it that it is unworkable. Can yu imagine Parliamentarians being recalled from their holidays to discuss anybody's detention. Oh, I forgot they will reclaim it on expenses, or am I being just a tad too cynical. This parliament will go down in history as one of the worst ever!

  • Comment number 24.

    23 TAG

    Totally agree, thius is very dangerous legislation that puts the liberty of everyone at risk. Once it is passed it will be massaged to cover all eventualities.

    One only has to look at the terrorist legislation which led to people using "free speech" around parliament being prosecuted.

    This is legislation from the Mugabe School of Politics.

  • Comment number 25.

    I don't think it is a surprise that the government has sexed up claims.

    This issue is not really about tackling the terrorist problem, it is show piece desgined to make Gordon Bean look tough.

    It is depressing really that our MP's of all pursuasions are spending so much time on this issue, rather than tackling the obvious priorities that the government are failing to address.

  • Comment number 26.

    Sorry, Was (#6) you should read the news and background before comments like this. I'm not a Tory supporter but it's been clear from the start that the Tories ARE promising to repeal this nasty and political piece of opportunism when they win the next election, unless there is evidence forthcoming which does not exist now.

    David Davis reiterated that on the Today programme this morning, you can hear what he said on the Today section of this website.

    On a related point, M15 and the Crown Prosecution Service are againt this Bill. I see no evidence that it will help and lots that it will hinder their work, and they presumably think this but can't say so as strongly as they would like.

    In contrast, the shameful posturing and political interference of certain senior police officers (Ian Blair and others) over this will surely come back to haunt them. They seem to want to have powers to lock up anyone they don't like indefinitely.

    I'm more afraid of them than I am that a "suspect" (we're all supposed to be innocent until proven guilty under UK law) let out after 28 days might commit an offence later.

    Maybe we should lock up anyone suspected of a serious motoring offence for 42 days in case they cause death by dangerous driving later? Specious argument? - Yes but the principle is the same.

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.

    TAG (#23)

    "This parliament will go down in history as one of the worst ever!"

    Why "one of"?

  • Comment number 29.

    So, the government is so convinced that anyone held longer than 28 days is a serious threat to the population and must be a raving terrorist, that they will bet £3,000 per day that they are correct.

    £3,000 per day for the extra 14 days = £42,000. That magic 42 again!

    Nice little earner.

  • Comment number 30.

    So the BBC's Chief Political Commentator can use a reference to an earlier imbroglio where the BBC was partisan and dishonest - "sexed up" - without any challenge based on the earlier reference?!

    I remember why I stopped using this "blag" - it is twisted to its Tory Masters, and Robinson was Young conservative party Chairman some way back, wasn't he?

  • Comment number 31.

    Well all I can say is that I am scared really scared.

    The fact that this parliament is willing to throw away a fundamental right we've had since 1215 is frankly disgusting.

    I just wish this was being done for genuine reasons rather than political.

    One other question no one is asking... How did we ever cope in the 80s when the IRA were bombing London? I don't remember any draconian measures being forced through then?

  • Comment number 32.

    This government is still spinning even as it plunges ever earthwards. It'll ony ever stop when it hits the ground.
    As we used to say when I was in the RAF, roll on!

  • Comment number 33.

    When the conservatives where trying to stop the communists from taking over the country they brought in the Nazi's, claiming "We've hired Hitler" and patting themselves on the back for their vision and foresight in stopping the communists.

    expect plenty of backslapping today if this bill is past.

  • Comment number 34.


    Well you see this is a democracy and no matter how foolish you appear you are entitled to your opinion.

    Or are the government going to take that freedom away too?

  • Comment number 35.

    Quiet 0 its funny, you keep claiming right wing tory bias - but then otehre claim that Nick is a mouthpiece of Labour, he's probably got it about correct then. wind your slathering lefty neck in and try using some perspective. From what I see, I think Nick's fairly neutral on this, as is the Beeb. I wish they'd actually stop trying to be neutral and start saying what a bad idea this really is, but I respect the fact they have to try and be neutral.

    In regards to the vote tonight - a few years ago it was 90 days with no evidence to back the claims up then, 28 days was seen as long enough, now its 42 days with no rhyme or reason, no evidence to support it and now the whole "If you're against it, you're for terrorism" phrases are being thrown about. Which is always a sure sign that the arguments are rubbish.

    Its internment, detention without trial, and although I do not think that this government would ever use it other than to detain terror suspects, whats stopping people further on in the future using it? For gods sake, if they cant charge someone for something within 28 days, then they shouldnt have been arrested in the first place. 42 days mean they can be lost in the system.

  • Comment number 36.

    Charles Hardwidge,

    I think you are in serious error when you seem to imply above that Gordon Brown is just trying to 'get on with the job' while others 'get caught up in competitive behaviour to get attention or to landgrab.'

    It seems to me that the extension to 42 days detention without charge is primarliy a stick with which to beat the Tories, a demonstration that Labour are 'tough' on terrorism and security issues, rather than a demonstrably useful tool in the nebulous 'war on terror'.

    Insofar as 'the job' Brown is 'getting on with' is positioning Labour with respect to the Tories for electoral advantage, then, you are quite right; but the effects of this politicking for the British body politic, the permanent legal framework of the UK and society at large could well be profound (not to mention that it sends out an international signal probably quite at variance to that you, I or even Brown would wish to convey).

    As a dedicated Labour mouthpiece, I was not surprised to find you parrotting the patronising condescension central to any defence of these measures - claiming that we who oppose 42 days detention simply do not have your enlightened position from which to pass judgement.

    Happily though, they can be thrown back in your face with impunity: gesture politics and hysteria, central to Brown winning the vote on 42 days detention are indeed a noxious mix. The government and all their stooges ought to be ashamed that *they* are indulging in such practices.


  • Comment number 37.


    "Does only Anne Widdecombe have the honesty to tell it like it is?"

    The Tory politician who is famous for her makeovers. Some conviction!

    On the UK's news channel - SkyNews - the minister, whats-it McNulty, stated that the 42-day process would entail bringing the "accused" before a judge on a weekly basis. If so, why not have a rolling seven-day process...?

    As for European comparisons, I find this uneasy. Roman law requires the accused to prove their innocence. English law requires the State to prove the accused's guilt. Wonder which one our "liberal" media-elite prefers...?

  • Comment number 38.

    As a lifelong Old Labour supporter I hope that today, the few honorable and decent MPs that are still left in the Party will vote against Gordon Brown's attempts to get himself off the hook by trying to force this dreadful legislation through parliament.

    The case that Jaqui Smith makes is that technology has become so complex that to search maybe hundreds of computers etc for evidence could take longer than the present 28 day limit before charge. If she is so concerned, about the problems created by technology, she should do what anyone in IT would do and use 'parallel processing' to speed up the job i.e. give the police more resources to complete the task within the time limit.

    To Labour MPs:- don't let Gordon Brown kid you the way Tony Blair did over Iraq, if you have a conscience, listen to it, if every other developed country can do without this attack on basic rights, so can we!

  • Comment number 39.

    If this legislation goes through then be afraid, very afraid.

    Er, funny how nobody mention this is the same government that has balanced their approach to counter-terrorism with funding respectable Mulsim scholars and actively bringing communities together? That looks like they're pursuing a hearts and minds strategy proportionate to the problem at hand. Perhaps, the reality is actually a little dull and newspapers lose money if they have nothing to shout about.

    I remember why I stopped using this "blag" - it is twisted to its Tory Masters, and Robinson was Young conservative party Chairman some way back, wasn't he?

    This story isn't too rounded but the Tories have accused this blog of being the 'keep Gordon Brown in power' blog. Selective facts and bias exhist everywhere but so does immaturity. Before lurching at politicans or the media people may do themselves a favour and check their own attitude. You can't change the world but you can change yourself, etcetera.
  • Comment number 40.

    11 Jun 2008, ad nauseam secondSpanners

    You hve forgotten about internment, and the Diplock courts?

    And the detention period has been increased from 4 days without charge to 28, on the say so of experts who have been proved right, unless you and your compadres want to put it back to 4 and se the havock, perhaps suffer the havoc the very real terrorists would wreak.

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

    Practical politicians and police who must pore over the Hard Drives etc of terrorist suspects deserve support, not the suicide bombing propaganda of Tories and their clones.

    The conduct of the opposition is clear: "We Old Etonians want a go, and we don't care! Jolly bombing weather, what?"

  • Comment number 41.

    11 Jun 2008, Charles_E_Hardwidge

    You seem not to have noticed that the Tories and their clones are succeeding by dint of numbers very largely to shift these blogs, especially this one over to an unremitting bias against HMG.

    One of their tools is to complain of left wing, or anti Conservative bias, then it appears that complains of the converse which are better founded are countered in advance.

    Charles, try reality check, mate!

  • Comment number 42.

    Some say the Conservatives are posturing, but with polls suggesting that 69% support the extension to 42 days I don't buy that argument. It would be lower risk politically for them to support the legisation.

    Lord Goldsmith, former attorney general is against the extension. Sir Ian Blair supports it. So there is no concensus amongst those who are aware of all the detailed arguments for and against.

    Personally, I am yet to be swayed we need the extension because no-one has adequately defined why it should be 42 days. We were told it should be 90 days when Tony Blair was PM. Why is Brown having to offer concessions and have his Whips work overtime to garner sufficient support from his own party?

    Surely there would be a greater concensus amongst our politicians, our law enforcement agencies including MI5 and the Government's legal advisors if the case for an extension was inarguable?

    Or am I being naive to expect our politicians, their advisors and the law enforement agencies to set aside point scoring for such an important debate?

  • Comment number 43.


    yes, detention without charge has been increased on the advise of experts to 28 days.

    I haven't yet seen or heard anyone, here or elsewhere, suggest we go back to 4 days without charge, though - that's not a straw man you have built there, is it?

    And if it is the opinion of experts you wish to parade before us, go and have a good look at all the experts who see no real case for extending that period further - including ex-ministers. Then we can talk.


  • Comment number 44.

    having grown up in the eighties when you had to deal with the very real danger of being blown to bits by terrorists on a daily basis. we did not have cowards threatening to reduce the liberties of everyone in the country at that time and their would have been an outcry if their had.

    I suspect too many cowradly racists are using these rules to disguise their hate on these and other boards, which is precisely why these proposals are dangerous.

    This law effects everyone, whatever colour of their skin and not just as many people are posting foreign nutters.

    Much Love


  • Comment number 45.

    Shami Chakrabartis is doing a wonderful job on behalf of all of us, even those who support 42 days.

    What the defence lawyers' revalation shows is that the police will use the maximum time available to keep pumping suspects even though they have enough evidence to bring charges.

    If you give them 42 days, they will use 42 days, whatever the safeguards - which, save for the need for approval by a judge, are in any event illusory and impracticable.

    Meanwhile it seems that, apart from phoning his backbenchers, our Prime Minister is prepared to throw £200 million of taxpayers' money to the DUP to procure their votes. Just to shore up his hopeless position.

    Potential Labour rebels should vote against this proposal. They will then have clean consciences and might even end up with a leader with some chance of winning an election.

  • Comment number 46.

    09:47 am on 11 Jun 2008, Fredalo et al

    It looks better for them to cry "Habeus Corpus" and be able to claim the moral high ground in the face of public opinion, doesn't it?

    Further they have some chance of defeating HMG, and that is the sort of propaganda coup any opposition would give its eye teeth for.

    Somehow I doubt they are truly acting in the interests of anyone but themselves.

    Oh and to the charge of racism, I share a building with muslims, my son's gf is a muslim and I sometimes engage in opposition with some of the BNP and Nazis on the DT site and so feel I am not short of any lectures on the topic.

    09:53 am on 11 Jun 2008, DrKF77

    It was increased to 28 days via 14 I think. Quite reasonable to ask those who oppose the increase to 42 days, with a plethora of safeguards, how many days they prefer, surely?

    And intercept evidence is not a clear alternative, as is much suggested, and likely to become far more intrusive and likely to involve the liberties of many who are not suspected of terrorism.

    Not sufficient to rule it out, but just to put the whingeing re the 42 days in some sort of third millennium context.

  • Comment number 47.

    #26. You are making some very poor assumptions about my background reading. I have read a fair amount on the issues amd it's the first time I've heard of any such unequivocal commitment from the Conservatives. I'm happy to stand corrected.
    However it's a pretty poor state of affairs when believers in democracy have to rely on the undemocratic Lords to uphold people's rights.

  • Comment number 48.

    This legislation looks as though it may well go through, to be used only in an emergency. Well hear this, an election must be held within approximately 2 years. What if our great leader goes the whole distance when an election must be held. A terrorist act occurs and loe and behold, parliament agrees that it is not possible to hold an election, because of national security of course. Parliament agrees to a delay, for an indefinite period.
    It has happened in our recent past, foot and mouth and county council elections. I fear for the future democracy in this country!
    Please MPs do not go down this route, it will lead to a disaster the likes of which you have in your worst nightmares.

  • Comment number 49.

    Shame on Shami for using the expression. It is a pity she has introduced this trite journalistic expression in this debate. And is anyone really serious in saying this proposal erodes medieval rights? These were in place in the 14th century, but there were no human rights to and 21st century justice to save the hundreds of ordinary people (some of them innocent of riots and bloodshed) who stood up for their rights in 1381 from the hangman and the axe.

  • Comment number 50.

    11 Jun 2008, T A Griffin (TAG)

    No election has been called and cancelled in recent times as you seem to suggest.

    Nor has any Parliament run beyond 5 years since WW2, when Mr Attlee denied Sir Winston Churchill's request to put the General Election which had been overdue for some time back even further.

    An election preventing scenario in which a major terrorist incident - such as a dirty bomb in London - is more likely without the potential for a relatively fuss free, but Parliament monitored 42 day detention without trial in place, isn't it?

  • Comment number 51.

    The majority the comments of your bloggers have all been against the increase to 42 days, which either means we are not representative of the populous as a whole or that the 60% in favor is not an accurate survey, perhaps we a just old cynics.

    Having listened to Shami on a number of occasions I am far more inclined to belive her than any member of the cabinet. Our MPs have the opportunity to show that Parliment is not a lap dog to the P.M.and can be bought not expenses again

    If what is now being muted £3000.00 per day if not charged could be a nice little earner, and typical of this government "when in doubt throw money at the problem" its our money . Often Police have information and evidence not enough to charge suspects and these remain as open files.

    Come on wavering Labour MPs stick to your principles vote no increase to 42days , don't be bought off with promises today . 28 days is enough .

  • Comment number 52.

    You seem not to have noticed that the Tories and their clones are succeeding by dint of numbers very largely to shift these blogs, especially this one over to an unremitting bias against HMG.

    I've noticed the selectivity and weight of numbers as some people have got behind the Bullingdon bully but to allow the enemy to dictate ones campaign is mistaken. That just allows the enemy to seize the initiative and boost their own morale.

    It's a fact of psychology and Buddhism that thoughts and feelings can be transferred. While the Tories and their friends and allies try to transfer disarray and weakness, by letting the arrows pass they miss their target and clatter uselessly to the floor.

    Or am I being naive to expect our politicians, their advisors and the law enforement agencies to set aside point scoring for such an important debate?

    The British ego across the depth and breadth of the system has taken a pounding. Its small sweet spot is an inevitable result of a competitive and consumer driven society. By letting go with methods like, say, Zen Buddhism, one creates room for it to grow.

    By pushing outwards, remaining within limits, and staying in touch, positive growth and consensus develops with little effort. It lacks the flashes and bangs of chest beating and wolfing retail goods down like a hungry dog but quality, relevance, and the long-term benefit.
  • Comment number 53.

    I understand that Brown is suggesting that payng several thousand pounds a day compensation could be paid to those who are held past 28 days and then not charged.

    I don't understand why this should only cover the period past 28 days, I have no doubt that everyone can be charged with *something*, and any amount would pale into insignificance compared to (say) MPs and MEPs expenese...

    However, if Brown is willing to put a price on freedom then could I suggest we start a fund to pay for the whole cabinet to be locked up for the foreseeable future?

    Source for the goose...

  • Comment number 54.

    I am wholly against the 42 day extension.

    I wonder if the "sexing up" is by the police or the Labour Party.

    I think it could be the latter. On Question Time last week Milliband was trying to argue that other countries in Europe have longer like Italy. Chakrrabati shot him down as they charge after 4 days. The point is Milliband must have had briefings and they would no doubt have relied on lawyers - who would have known that point was untrue.

    I hope the 42 day attempt falls but I fear it may not.

  • Comment number 55.


    as to what limit people think should be put on detention without charge, I was thinking of, say, Sir Ken MacDonald (who has stated that prosecutors have 'managed comfortably' with 28 days; Lord Goldsmith (who, upon reflection, thinks 28 days is long enough); and Eilish Angiolini (who similarly thinks 28 days enough).

    The answer is this: 28 days is (quite probably more than) enough.


  • Comment number 56.

    I am concerned that when will it appear that 42 days isn't enough? 90 days won't suffice? We are moving into dangerous terrirtory here with the result a possible incarcaration without due process indefintely.

    Why is it that the FBI can charge within three days and the UK has to take three months?

    I am very suspicious that instead of nipping these so-called "plots" in the bud that the services are allowing them to prosper in order to catch all the bad eggs in one go but... the question then has to be asked on how much assistance these plots are given to keep them going and then we are walking into entrapment and enticement too.

    At the end of the day, Britain and America enraged the Muslim world by illegally invading and occupying Iraq, they still don't get it that if they hadn't committed these series of atrocious crimes that such legislation would be needed, Brown doesn't need to do this, what he needs to do is pull the troops from the Middle East, make reparation to the Iraqi people and take a very very long step back from America and Israel.

    That is the quickest, most expedient way to stop any of this, the Iraqi's are not going to back down any other way and until we make peace with these wronged people then there will be the potential for terrorism.

    Strange though how the French resistance were freedom fighters and Britain helped arm and train them to commit acts of "terrorism" against military and civilian targets in Europe but today the same formula is sidestepped when it comes to the Muslims...

  • Comment number 57.

    Let's not forget that in the case of the allegedly "sexed up" Iraq dossier, it was the government's case which proved to have been made in good faith, and the BBC's reporting which was wrong.

  • Comment number 58.

    I am a essentially a systems engineer by trade, so consequently am always asking a fundamental question :

    Is this the correct place {in the system} for this decision to be taken?

    So, when looking at an issue such as this, my first thought is surely, as Europeans, there should be a Europe-wide ruling on the number of days that a European citizen can be held without being charged in an EU country?

    I think it would be hard to argue otherwise, so why is this not being addressed at the EU Parliament?

  • Comment number 59.

    10:29 am on 11 Jun 2008, DrKF77

    Sooo 28 days is "more than enough"?

    How many is enough then?

    The law and people's freedoms require a definite answer, and the 42 days is a result of negotiation and courage in the face of opposition.

    One thing is most assuredly true:

    If Cameron D and his Old Etonian and Bullingdon mates obtain power, they will not change it.

  • Comment number 60.

    It didn't hit me until today why Brown seems so determined to get this through. Its just `him' isn't it? Why take 28 days to deliberate on something if you can have 42? Dither dither dither. There's never enough evidence is there? You can always wait. Something else will turn up.
    He's basically trying to change the nature of the country to suit himself. At the cost of a serious erosion of liberty that will be well nigh impossible to regain. Other Western countries don't need 42 days. We shouldn't either.

  • Comment number 61.

    The whole debate is a load of hot air. It merely disguises the fact of how little the government are doing in the way of real thinking and solving the issues that challenge us today.

    Considering the scope of other national / international problems, it seems lunacy to waste so much time and effort on hypothetical sketchy ideas.

  • Comment number 62.

    10:31 am on 11 Jun 2008, TonyHopkins

    Only too true, and further:

    The phrase "sexed up" was a Campbell exaggeration.

    The few changes in words he made were minimal, and their importance has been exaggerated beyond belief in the interests of the Tory party and of the BBC which got it wrong and seeks credibility.

    The context of Sadam's already proven, used and destroyed WMD materials and SCUD missiles make a backdrop in which the case was very compelling.

  • Comment number 63.

    #52 Charles - I do think you allow your own prejudices to occasionally get in the way of commonsense. Your reference to the "Bullingdon bully" is part of the name-calling theme that you have attempted to discourage when your own "side" is on the receiving end of it, but for you to become partial to a bit of name-calling yourself seems to take the biscuit. As a student of psychology, what name do you give to someone who accuses others of something they do themsleves?

    In the relation to the theme of this blog, it's not that people are getting behind Cameron, it's that they are behind an idea of being repulsed by what the Government is offering. I'd hardly say that the tens of Labour MPs who are not enthused by the 42-day plan to be getting behind Cameron. They are libertarians, not autocrats.

    Interestingly, John Major is also against the 42-day plan, eventhough he was on the receivng end of a mortar bomb when in Government.

  • Comment number 64.

    Quietzapple re 46

    Please don't bracket responses to my postings with those who have expressed racist views. I find that highly insulting. I am not a racist and have no desire to be vicariously associated with those who are. I am sure that was not what you intended.

    The first three points you make in 46 in response to my posting (42) are perfectly valid positions to take. The reason I don't fully buy into them is that if the Bill was defeated it would take just one atrocity for the NuLab spin machine to go into overdrive. Just too risky. There must be more to this than political posturing? But then, I guess, we should just agree to disagree.

  • Comment number 65.

    This is rather ironic and typical NewLabour upside down thinking.

    On the one hand they want to lock up and detain for 42 days potentially totally innocent people.

    On the other hand they continue to release out of prison convicted criminals onto our streets.

    NewLabour - New Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

    When will this dystopia end?

  • Comment number 66.

    I am concerned that when will it appear that 42 days isn't enough? 90 days won't suffice? We are moving into dangerous terrirtory here with the result a possible incarcaration without due process indefintely.

    Some people are hyping things up because they want attention or votes. The same thing is happening with oil as the oil companies and speculators count imagined future profits. It's all a bit absurb and people would be better off calming down or taking a holiday. This isn't about right and wrong anymore, it's driven by desire.

    I am a essentially a systems engineer by trade, so consequently am always asking a fundamental question : Is this the correct place {in the system} for this decision to be taken?

    Some good design parameters like EU directives exist, which govern proportionality and human rights. The British situation has its own issues and refactoring it is hard enough. The 42 days policy seems to address both these concerns and, actually, fill a gap while providing additional safeguards.
  • Comment number 67.


    i thought you might pick up on that. You asked about the opinions of others: I gave you the considered opinion of 3 legal experts that 28 days is enough.

    *Personally*, I was against the doubling to 14 days detention - I am (again personally) against increasing that to 42 days - that's why I put it in parenthesis.

    42 days, as I said in comment 36 above, is less to do with 'negotiation and courage' than with political posturing - into which you have fallen yourself by (yet again) introducing party politics in to the equation. The Tories, Lib Dems, nationalists, more than a handful of Labour MPs and the aforementioned legal experts are not all Old Etonians, and this isn't a class issue.


  • Comment number 68.

    What price liberty?

    Three grand, mate!

  • Comment number 69.

    I watched the 10 o'clock News and Nick Robinson's report last night (Tuesday 10th June). I was amused to hear him commenting about the "sexed-up" anlge, when his report was one of the most visually "sexed-up" reports I've ever seen on a News programme!

  • Comment number 70.

    Holding people without charge is not just unnecessary, it's also dangerous. Forty-two days is a six week prison sentence that is completely outside the judicial and democratic processes, and one is entitled to ask where it will end.

    The only way it would be necessary is if the police had to release someone who then went on to commit a terrorist act. I know of no such situation where that has occurred, and if Jacqui Smith cannot come up with such an instance then I fail to see how she ended up impressing anyone.

    Additionally, if it takes six weeks just to question someone and 'get something out of them', then you have to seriously question the [in]competence of the police and security services. Presumably, various individuals would have been under surveillance for months, perhaps years, with the gathering of evidence and intelligence so that they can be arrested and charged. If the police then arrest someone after this surveillance period, question them for four weeks as they can do now, and still can't charge them with something then it's a safe bet that either the police and the security services or idiots, or there is no evidence that an individual actually did anything.

    If you need six weeks to question someone, the problems lie elsewhere.

  • Comment number 71.

    M/s Chakrabarti continues to annoy and demonstrate she in not in line with the public. Why do the media give her such credibility and prominence? she is a total turn off.

  • Comment number 72.

    Throuhout the PIRA campaign, the Labour Party refused to endorse the Prevention of Terrorism Act, abstaining during its annual "renewal". Its contents were generally accepted.

    Now they want a much more draconian system imposed.

    Unfortunately I can only see "mission creep" - these proposals will not be used for the original purpose. Witness spying by councils on families, reading names of dead soldiers, etc. What next - holding motorists in jail until the police can confrim who was driving a speeding car? holding incommunicado anyone who does not agree with the party line? And what of our precious EU's opinion - silence there.

    When will this crew accept that they exist to serve us - not the other way round?

  • Comment number 73.

    Since when did the police hold people only until enough evidence was available to charge them? If this is the case then they aren't being too clever.

    Surely any police investigator will hold a suspect (especially one he believes to be a dangerous terrorist) for the maximum available time so that as much evidence as possible can be amassed. Anything else would be unprofessional and risk undermining the prosecution.

    That is the danger with the 42 day limit. It will be used, and innocent people will lose an additional two weeks of their lives as a result. 28 days away from family and work is long enough, and should be sufficient, as your story suggests, to build a solid case. If not I would suspect that the case isn't there to be answered.

    The old rule should be applied here: If something can't be applied to everyone (i.e. unless we accept that anyone and everyone can be locked up without charge for 42 days) then the rule is wrong.
    A second point is that legal rights should not be removed without good reason. We have had no cases where more than 28 days were required; neither the police nor intelligence services seem to want the change; the terrorist threat has been amplified by politicians and the media beyond what we are actually seeing in terms of activity or attacks (one major and one minor attack in the last two years). With no obvious benefit, should we be giving away our freedom or anyone else's?

  • Comment number 74.


    Millions didn't believe the case for the Iraq war. Millions found that the post war facts matched up to their views and not those of the government.

    I think the BBC in the form of Max Byford were very wrong to apologise for a legitimate and fair story. The government never got around to correcting the 45 minute misunderstanding. Yeah right.

    The concerns of the civil liberty lobby are well founded in my view. There is an element of McCarthyism-with-a-smile where politicians try to unscrupulously harness genuine concerns about terrorism for their own political benefit.

    Labour couldn't back out from the vote.

    Its like watching a car crash in slow motion. If they lose the vote then Browns credibility is shot. All of the spin in the world will not help Labour then. The next election will be a bloodbath as things stand and I am sure wavering Labour MPs will think on that and how their constituents are going to react to this vote.

  • Comment number 75.

    Hey Quietzapple

    If you feel so afraid of the threat of terrorism please feel free to hide under your bed hoping that the Government will impose indefinite imprisonment without charge.

    You say that the tories will not change it back if it comes through and you're right, they won't.

    Thus you have identified why this law is so dangerous.

    Draconian laws may be passed in faith but there is not telling what the next PM will do with this legislation when they come along.

    The reaosn these laws have been opposed over the centuries is becuase if they were in place anyone can be silenced, anyone can be lost in the system and anyone can fall downstairs while resisting arrest, including anyone you know, on the flimsiest of evidence that would never stand up in court.

    I hate what you say, but unlike you I'm fighting for your right to remain out of police custody for 42 days to say it.

    Much Love


  • Comment number 76.

    Really Charles Hardwidge, I've never come accross so condescending an arrogant 'Zen Buddhist' as yourself.

    You say this is all to do with 'the campaigns of yesterday', with 'media and ideology', an attempt to 'transfer disarray and weakness' through 'chest beating' - and worst of all, you profess, 'this isn't about right and wrong any more, it's about desire'.

    What patronising nonsense. The moral sensibilities of those of us who oppose 42 days detention are not, by comparion with your own, retarded as you seem to suggest and believe. Our ability to reason is not so very less than yours; we are not the simple idiots you paint us to be.


  • Comment number 77.

    # 66

    Liberty is a fundamental human right of every EU citizen.

    Therefore, the EU citizen has the right know that wherever he or she may be in Europe, that that person cannot be detained without charge for more than an EU-wide set numbers of days.

    Surely this is at the core of what it must mean to be a European citizen?

    An American knows that whether he is in Florida, Texas, California (all separate countries at sone points in American history) that he cannot be detained for more than a few days without charge.

    I do not see why a European citizen should not enjoy the same consistency of law, in this particular case, throughout the EU.

  • Comment number 78.

    Nick you wrote, "Ministers are sure to angrily deny the charge of sexing up, a phrase that deliberately echoes the allegation made about weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the Iraq war."

    Shouldn't that be, "Ministers are sure to angrily deny the charge of sexing up, a phrase that deliberately echoes the CORRECT allegation made about weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the Iraq war."

    Need I remind you that there were no WMD in Iraq at the time of the invasion, and that is what the available evidence showed at the time.

  • Comment number 79.

    @ 75, David Davis has already pledged to return to 28 days if the Tories are elected.

  • Comment number 80.

    In the relation to the theme of this blog, it's not that people are getting behind Cameron, it's that they are behind an idea of being repulsed by what the Government is offering.

    I've seen this sort of thing before. When Gordon Brown came on a little too strong and twitchy Cameron used forceful personality politics to bludgeon him. That's when people with issues and an agenda pile on. It's pretty much by the book for this sort of thing.

    The thing is, this squeezes out rationality and consensus. It's the old style winner takes all politics that has driven parliament, business, and society into the ground. I don't advocate the government beat its chest or leap at every piece of dangled bait. That just fuels the absurdity.

    The same mechanism exists wherever you go because everyone is built the same way. Nobody is immune to this which is why self-development is a good idea. By stepping back one allows habit and reactivity to decay and improvement to build in its place. This can take time.
  • Comment number 81.

    Forgive me if I'm wrong but I understood that these prisoners who warrant 28/42 days have to be brought before a judge every 7 days for the judge to give a ruling on whether the prisoner should be detained or not for another 7 days, I also understood that the 42 days would only be used for one year under what I think is called a sunset clause, it then has to go before parliament if its required for another year, which I imagine it will for a number of years considering our current problems. some one on this blog remarked on America's paranoia in a derogatary way, of course this person does'nt think that they have reason to be paraniod, many mostly tory bloggers here are spouting of with there usual rheteric Gordon Browns this Mr beans that, I just hope to God that the dont have reason to eat their words if we experience the same sort of tradgedy that America are paraniod about. I wonder where Ms Chakrabati will be hiding then.
    I dont and I'm quite sure that no one in their right senses wants innocent people locked up for 42 days but in order to protect millions of innocent people this may have to be done. To read the comments on this blog you would think that they were going to build huge camps to house all these people when in truth it will only be a handful of people and if thats the price we have to pay to protect the populace then thats what we have to do and we have to do it.
    To write about the Magna Carta in relation to this situation is absurd, this is the 21 century not the 12th, they only had to worry about whether fred in the next village was collecting a few to many arrows or bill down the road has bought a new sword, our problems today are worlds away from the situation considered then.
    there are safeguards built into this bill to protect the innocent and if the report about £3,000 a day are correct , they'll be queueing up to get arrested and hoping they can stay there for the full 42 days, I wish I was eligible!

  • Comment number 82.

    @ all those that say that the tories are unprincipled because they will not revoke this if it passes today...

    David Davis explicitly stated on the politics show last Sunday that the Tories would return to 28 days if they are elected and would look to introduce other measures to tackle terrorism that does NOT infringe on the liberty of law abiding citizens.

    Labour cannot win the argument on this, so they are hyping up the fear using more "exaggerations".

  • Comment number 83.

    #52 Charles E Hardwidge - "It's a fact of psychology and Buddhism"

    A fact of Buddhism? Can you really use that as an argument? It's a pretty big assumption to say Buddhism is fact!!

  • Comment number 84.

    I am far more interested in my right to not get blown up while travelling to work than I am in the complaints of a suspected Islamic jihadist to not have his 'human rights' violated.

    Let the security services have 42 days if they need it. They will not use these powers except as a last resort.

    BTW - I loath and detest Shami Chakribati and all she stands for. She and Gareth Peirce are responsible for making human rights lawyers less respected than estate agents and parking attendents.

  • Comment number 85.

    Does anyone really believe that Shami Chakrabati has enough serious credibility to add to this debate? The real issues are surely the dynamics of support for the Bill within the PLP, the implications for the Brown premiership and the possibility that Jacqui Smith may yet 'rise without trace'. I believe the majority if any will be thin, the fortunes of the Bill subsequently in the Lords by no means secure, and the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle in the not too distant future both strong and relevant.

    Already the electorate has rather little trust in the government, the labour backbench already calculating which side its bread is buttered on. Shami Chakrabati's intervention is late, limp and likely to change few minds that are not already fully capable of making a judgment

  • Comment number 86.

    RE 79

    David Davies advised that he has pledged to repeal a law that will allow the Governement to lock up any undesirables for 42 days without charge.

    Bearing in mind they are scrapping the Human Rights act I will ...How you say ...Believe it when I see it.

    M L


  • Comment number 87.

    Well if Shami Chakrabarti says it - then it must be true.

    Nick - do you ever think that news media (not just BBC) give too much credence to some of these single issue campaign groups?

    Who elected 'Liberty' or 'Green Peace' or any of these other people?

    Why are their unsupported oppinions so regularly part of our 'news' broadcasts?

    If Gordon Brown says police need 42 days you guys (quite rightly) subject him to some serious cross examination.

    But I have NEVER seen one of these campaigners say something then be firmly questioned by the media. They say it and it is broadcast unchallenged.

    Next time one of these people makes a statement to you, how about subjecting them to the same level of challenge as you do with the elected politicians?

  • Comment number 88.

    I am not sure about UP TO 42 days(6 weeks) detention mostly against. But I am not in the Police or Government so accept I could be wrong. The cases quoted might be a case for questioning after charge. If they are lesser charges. If they are lesser charges why is it not in the article above? I doubt the police would hold someone without charge for the sake of it.

    Quite amusing to hear people saying that the FBI can charge within 3 days. What about Guantanamo bay?

    90 days or 3 months was completely wrong and was probably a negotiating figure.

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 20 re: "I'm tired of hearing Tony McNulty talk about 42 days being essential, an imperative, desperately needed. The same rhetoric was used for 90 days and 28 days."

    This is the same Tony McNulty that stated (in an ID card debate) that,

    "We are not knocking down doors at four in the morning with people booted and suited in riot gear. Most of the removals occur around half-five, half-six, seven in the morning."

    So we are not heading towards totalitarianism, because we have the "time of removal test".

    Labour abuse laws regularly, for example:

    Had Mr Wolfgang (Walter Wolfgang - the 82-year-old ejected from the Labour conference for shouting "Nonsense!" during Jack Straw's speech) said "nonsense" twice during the foreign secretary's speech, the police could have charged him under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Harassment, the act says, "must involve conduct on at least two occasions ... conduct includes speech". Parliament was told that its purpose was to protect women from stalkers, but the first people to be arrested were three peaceful protesters. Since then it has been used by the arms manufacturer EDO to keep demonstrators away from its factory gates, and by Kent police to arrest a woman who sent an executive at a drugs company two polite emails, begging him not to test his products on animals. In 2001 the peace campaigners Lindis Percy and Anni Rainbow were prosecuted for causing "harassment, alarm or distress" to American servicemen at the Menwith Hill military intelligence base in Yorkshire, by standing at the gate holding the Stars and Stripes and a placard reading "George W Bush? Oh dear!" In Hull a protester was arrested under the act for "staring at a building".

    The police are also rediscovering the benefits of some of our more venerable instruments. On September 10 2005, Keith Richardson, one of the six students convicted of aggravated trespass on Friday, had his stall in Lancaster city centre confiscated under the 1824 Vagrancy Act. "Every Person wandering abroad and endeavouring by the Exposure of Wounds and Deformities to obtain or gather Alms ... shall be deemed a Rogue and Vagabond... " The act was intended to prevent the veterans of the Napoleonic wars from begging, but the police decided that pictures of the wounds on this man's anti-vivisection leaflets put him on the wrong side of the law. In two recent cases, protesters have been arrested under the 1361 Justices of the Peace Act.

    Labour cannot be trusted with implementing new powers.

  • Comment number 90.

    #79 purpledogzzz, David Davis has promised to repeal just about everything but only for a month or so Fox hunting, university fees, the Lisbon treaty, and many other things do you honestly believe that they will? the only reason their objecting to no referendum is for their own political reasons. when Cameron was asked if he would give a referendum if they get into power he replied " it would be difficult"not yes of course, they are objecting to the forty two days not because they have suddenly developed a conscience but purely for political reasons but they have made a mistake with this one the public are at last starting to see through the shallow antics that the tories are portraying it will take a little time but they will be exposed before the next election.

  • Comment number 91.

    Re 82

    To protect innocent people it may be necessary to lock up innocent people without charge.

    lets just go the whole hog then and padlock ourselves in our homes.

    “Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain Security, will not have, nor do they deserve, either one”

    these laws can and will impact on the very civilians you say you want to protect.

    This is orwellian doublethink of the highest order.

  • Comment number 92.

    to 87

    having read your previous posts where you complain about the race card and accuse Barack Obama of playing the race card to get wealthy you clearly don't get that passing a law that can allow people to be held without charge for 42 days mean that you and anyone you know can be held that long without charge.

    The compensation thing is ridiculous as no-one in their right mind would want to lose 42 days of freedom knowing they'd be compensated for false imprisonment.

    Unlike you and certain other's on this board however I will still defend your right to not be held for 42 days on no real evidence even though you would surrender it on someone else's say so.

    I just hope that Ian blair and gordon brown don't tell you to jump off a cliff.

  • Comment number 93.

    Lets consider that the law already allows for people to be held for more than 28 days - why then do we need to legislate to make this easier to do?

    So far the police have been perfectly able to do their jobs within the current time constraints.

    If, and it is a big if, the police ever feel that they need more time, legislation is already in place to allow for this.

    There is no need to bring in legislation just for the sake of Brown trying to look tough on terror!

  • Comment number 94.

    Increasing to 42 days, with all the safeguards in place, is not the issue. The Tory's want to defeat GB as they did TB on this and are willing to put people’s lives at risk to achieve their aims.

    MP's who do not support this issue are in effect stating that they do not trust the Police and Judges to only use the clause in the exceptional circumstances it is designed for.

    Stating that we should wait until a case needed more than 28 days is like stating we will only outlaw murder once one has been committed. The logical conclusion of that argument is that allowing a terrorist to go free is better than prior preparation. It's all gesture politics, give the Police the support they need and beat the Government on another issue, Lord knows there are enough of them.. I never felt I would applaud Anne Widecombe for representing the common sense majority.

    Liberty are just becoming apologists for those who wish to abuse are rights to inflict death and destruction on our country. How sad they care so little for the rights of victims.

  • Comment number 95.

    @ 38 Jackturk, I disagree with your politics, but I honour, respect and admire your dignity and your belief in something solid. Unlike the modern labour party whose only reason to be in power now, seems to have become in "order to keep power, at all cotsts".

    The rich are still getting richer and the poor, poorer. More people slip into poverty everyday. I do not thing that is by accident, but by design, as Brown requires economic victims to remain relevent.

    The 10p tax debacle let their mask slip to reveal, in all their ghastly hideousness, the real face of newlabour. The face that licks the boots of the billionaire elite setting aside hundreds of billions in loan guarantees to prop up economic incompetence and greed of the banks, at the same time that they kicks the poor when they are down. They are fake Rolex Tories. They are a twisted caricature of the old nasty tory party and the sooner that this nation is rid of them the better. I only hope that this 42 days debacle sees them off even sooner.

  • Comment number 96.

    This legislation has nothing to do with the needs of the police or the security services. This legislation (or should we call it a 'good design parameter' Charles?) is about saving face. it is about Gordon Brown choosing an issue to reassert his authority over a moribund Labour party.

    Many years ago I recall statements about the iniquity of detention without charge being made against the Soviet Union, and US 'client states' in South America. Many of us, were then, appalled that people were being locked up and 'disappeared' into systems that seemed to have little regard for the rule of law or human dignity.

    This makes it all the more depressing that some of our political masters think it will never happen here. That somehow we are immune to the failings that we once saw in other authoritarian states at other times. Believe me, it's far harder to legislate for civil rights than it is to legislate against them. So whatever your political persuasion, think long and hard before you walk down this road.

  • Comment number 97.

    What patronising nonsense. The moral sensibilities of those of us who oppose 42 days detention are not, by comparion with your own, retarded as you seem to suggest and believe. Our ability to reason is not so very less than yours; we are not the simple idiots you paint us to be.

    Speaking as a Zen Buddhist, I'd take being called a simple idiot as a compliment.

    A fact of Buddhism? Can you really use that as an argument? It's a pretty big assumption to say Buddhism is fact!!

    They agree on this issue. I'm just giving people a choice to follow up with the science, or Buddhism. One is a bit dry, the other a bit more fun.
  • Comment number 98.

    A couple of themes are becoming quite evident from these posts, a) if you don't like the message attack the messenger, hence the unwarranted attacks on Shami Chakrabati and b) the professional nasty party is alive and scratching, closely followed by the comments from the amateur nasty party - New Labour.

    The 42 days is totally unjustified, it is merely an excuse for the police and the government to drag their heals at the cost of our hard won rights. How many of those in favour would be perfectly happy to be locked up for 6 weeks without any charge or explanation?

  • Comment number 99.

    #94. I think that the accusation here is so repulsive that it's very difficult to fathom.

    So: who was it who was blasted to pieces in the car park in the House of Commons? A Tory Minister. Who was on the receiving end of a mortar bomb in 10 Downing street? The Tory cabinet. Who was caught up in the Brighton bombing and had to be pulled from the rubble, some critically injured and others fatally? The Tory attendees at a party conference. I could go on. There are Tories who are split on this issue, as there are in Labour. But to accuse anyone of playing with lives is just not on.

  • Comment number 100.

    @89 - part of you must be quite impressed that they actually knew about that law?


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