Azara Blog: Gordon Brown bribes the DUP to extend terror suspect holding period to 42 days

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Date published: 2008/06/11

The BBC says:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has narrowly won a House of Commons vote on extending the maximum time police can hold terror suspects to 42 days.

Thirty-six Labour MPs joined forces with Conservatives and Lib Dems to vote against the proposals.

But that was not enough to defeat them - although the government still faces a battle in the House of Lords.

The 42-day proposal was passed by 315 MPs to 306 - with votes by the nine DUP MPs proving crucial.

But there was uproar in the Commons as the result of the key vote on 42 days was announced after five hours of tense debate - with Tory and Lib Dem MPs shouting "You've been bought" at the DUP benches.

They claim the DUP was offered a string of inducements - including extra financial help for Northern Ireland - to guarantee its support.

Labour rebels claimed the DUP had obtained guarantees that the government would block efforts to use the Human Embryology and Fertility Bill, currently going through Parliament, to loosen abortion rules in Northern Ireland.

They are also said to have cut a deal to keep revenue from water rates, which Westminster had been set to claw back.

But the DUP denies it was promised any financial support and insists it voted out of principle.

It's at times like this when the rest of the UK wished that Northern Ireland would just disappear down a black hole. The current Labour government is starting to resemble the last Tory government, selling out to the DUP for the sake of passing bad legislation. Of course it's not over yet. The Lords will almost certainly reject this, and when it comes back to the Commons perhaps a few more Labour MPs will decide to put the interests of the country above the interests of Gordon Brown. And if it does become law, then when the Tories come to power in a year or two it will be interesting to see if they reverse this, as they claim they will, or decide that the ability to lock people up for a long time, just because the government wants to, is a good idea after all.

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