Azara Blog: Tories do not want extension of 28-day limit for detention of "terror" suspects

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Date published: 2006/11/12

The BBC says:

The 28-day limit on detaining terror suspects before they are charged should only be extended if there is "credible evidence" to do so, the Tories say.

Chancellor Gordon Brown has said he "completely" agrees with police calls for longer detention periods.

But shadow attorney general Dominic Grieve accused ministers of a "knee-jerk" reaction to warnings of an increased terror threat.

It was time for a "rational debate" on the issue, he told the BBC.

Mr Grieve said: "If there is credible evidence that an extension is needed, we will consider that pragmatically."

But every increase to the time limit "subtly" undermined British principles, he added.

Last year, the Tories, the Liberal Democrats and Labour rebels defeated government plans to extend the period to 90 days - Prime Minister Tony Blair's first Commons loss.

A compromise was eventually agreed to extend it to 28 days, doubling it from the previous 14 days.

Mr Grieve said: "One of the difficulties we have is that we have a government that tells lies.

"It has done it pretty serially over the last few years and so trust breaks down and, as they are concerned more with presentation than with substance, it is always incredibly difficult to have a rational debate with them about what is actually needed."

Shadow home secretary David Davis told the BBC that "arguments [in favour of a 90-day limit] I have seen so far both in public and in secret are worse than not great. They are dreadful."

A lot of the modern Tory political canon, under David Cameron, is just fluff or, worse, bad policy. So it is good to see that at least on civil liberties the Tories are, for now, willing to argue against the further encroachment of the police state that Tony Blair and (it seems) Gordon Brown want.

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