Azara Blog: Tories vote with the Government on Terrorim Bill

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Date published: 2005/10/26

The BBC says:

The Terrorism Bill, which would allow suspects to be held for up to 90 days without charge, has passed its first stage in the Commons.

Most Conservatives, led by home affairs spokesman David Davis, backed the bill, giving it a majority of 378.

But Mr Davis said the party would oppose the "fundamental sticking point" of longer periods of detention at later stages in the Commons and Lords.

Lib Dems voted against the Terrorism Bill at Wednesday's second reading.

Sixteen Labour MPs, including ex-Cabinet minister Clare Short, rebelled against the government.

Meanwhile, eight Tories - including former chancellor Ken Clarke, who was a candidate to become party leader until last week - joined them.

The Terrorism Bill would outlaw "glorifying" terrorism and make it an offence to commit acts "preparatory to terrorism".
The government wants to increase the time police can hold terrorism suspects without charge from two weeks to 90 days.

It says complex cases, often involving detailed research using computers, take more time, making an extension necessary.

Mr Davis told MPs longer detention was "a fundamental sticking point".

Despite talking to police and security services, he had "yet to hear a convincing argument for this measure".

He said the law should change so that terror suspects could be questioned after being charged.

This was a "tiny infringement on our traditions of liberty and justice by comparison with the proposed 90-day extension".

Earlier in the debate, Home Secretary Charles Clarke said: "We cannot properly fight terrorism with one legal hand tied behind our back, or give terrorists the unfettered right to defend themselves as they promote and prepare violent attacks on our society."

He accused the Lib Dems of "knee jerk" opposition and of "weakening the common front of democratic politics against terrorism" by saying they will against the bill.

It's hard to know who is worse, New Labour or Old Tories. You know Charles Clarke has no real argument if he talks about hands tied behind backs. You might as well get rid of the courts completely using that idiotic analogy, after all they only get in the way of putting the bad guys behind bars. And to play the terrorism card against the Lib Dems only shows further how low Clarke has sunk (and funnily enough he doesn't mention his own "knee jerk" support of the bill). It is the unfortunate destiny of every Home Secretary in Britain to prove that he is even worse than the previous one.

And what can you say about the Tories? They oppose one of the fundamental provisions of the bill yet vote for it. And they wonder why politicians are so reviled. Hopefully pretty boy David Cameron will prove he is not just a Blair clone when he takes over the Tories, and once again put the civil liberties of British citizens above the dictatorial inclinations of the current nobody generation running the UK. (But almost certainly it will be more of the same.)

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