Azara Blog: Labour wants to detain people without charge for six weeks

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Date published: 2007/12/06

The BBC says:

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced plans to extend the period that terrorism suspects can be held without charge for up to 42 days.

In an attempt to win over critics, it is planned to give MPs a role in any decision to let police hold suspects for more than the current 28-day limit.

Ms Smith said 42 days would be needed only in "exceptional circumstances".

Ministers have come up against strong opposition from Tories, Lib Dems and some Labour MPs over terror detentions.
The home secretary will have the power to set a 42-day limit.

Ms Smith said: "To emphasise that the higher limit is exceptional, it must be approved by Parliament within 30 days."

Ministers recently proposed extending the terror detention limit to 56 or 58 days.

The 28-day limit was itself a compromise, after former prime minister Tony Blair failed to convince Parliament to increase it to 90 days in 2005.

How pathetic can you get? The BBC has been making much play today of the phrase "exceptional circumstances" because it is just such a ridiculous one to use. Not too long ago the limit was 7 days. That is already exceptional, or is New Labour thinking of making routine imprisonment of large numbers of the population a standard practise? Blair then went crazy (as part of his post hoc justification for his illegal invasion of Iraq) and asked for 90, and got 28, and now for no particular reason Brown is pushing for 42. Douglas Adams might approve. Groucho Marx might say "why a duck?". Labour just make it up as they go along. And how gracious of the government to let Parliament approve the proposal. But the idea that MPs should look at individual cases over the 28-day limit is unbelievable. MPs have a job to do. Being a judge is not one of them. The judiciary is the proper place for these cases to be decided.

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