Home International Drop new terror law plans, MPs tell UK government

Drop new terror law plans, MPs tell UK government


London : Government attempts to extend police powers to detain terror suspects without trial from 28 to 42 days receive a further blow from an all-party parliamentary committee Friday.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) reported that evidence from the country’s Crown Prosecution Service that it was satisfied with the present limit seems “devastating to the government’s case for an extension”.

Its verdict comes less than 24 hours after a similar warning in a report from the Home Affairs Select Committee, that there was as yet “no evidence” for the limit, was doubled only last year, to be further increased.

Giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee earlier this week, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith admitted that only six out of 71 formal submissions made to ministers have been in favour of extension.

Former lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, was also reported on Thursday to have joined the swelling ranks of critics, which are led by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, opposed to the government’s plans to extend pre-charge detentions.

The British government has insisted that it has been seeking a consensus for an extension, but the JCHR said it should immediately rule out enabling parliament to rule on pre-charge detention beyond 28 days in relation to specific investigations.

“If the government is genuinely concerned to build a national consensus on counter-terrorism policy, it should drop this ill- conceived proposal and work with us and others to identify better ways of ensuring terrorism suspects are successfully prosecuted,” Committee chairman Andrew Dismore said.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesman suggested that the report from the committees “spells the end for Gordon Brown’s misguided attempt to play tough on terrorism.” Liberty human rights group, which has already warned that Britain has by far the longest pre-charge detention of suspects in the western world, said that the consensus against the government’s anti-terror policy is “snowballing.”