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The Sun lambasts the Tory position today:

"David Cameron’s Tory MPs, against their natural instincts, fought any detention beyond 28 days simply for opposition’s sake. There were plenty in their ranks who secretly backed 42 days.

Tory Lord Tebbit, himself a victim of terrorists, rightly asked yesterday what his party will do if they win power and find they need 42 days. How will they possibly argue for it?

As he also pointed out, the injustice of holding an innocent person for six weeks can be rectified. The injustice meted out to an innocent person murdered by terrorists cannot.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will now have to force through emergency 42-day legislation the next time a major suspect is held.

And the Tories will have to back her – they cannot risk sabotaging a case for political advantage."

Rubbish there is no need to hold anyone without charge for 42 days.

Davud Cameron has got this spot on if we change our way of life one bit then the terrist have already won. fari enough tighten up security to stop the attacks happening but i am quite sure they can get the evidence together in a month to charge if need be they have so far.

As for the Sun lambasting us oh well we'll survive

The Sun is a terrible newspaper and is the best example of the populist gutter press at its worst.

Where would The Sun draw a limit? 42 days? 52 days? This is an important question, because once the Government has its way on 42 days it is only a matter of time before they ask for more.

The Sun would be better placed standing up for our hard won liberties rather than behaving in such a pathetic way.

Vincent Wall, the common law country with the next highest detention before charge is Australia with 12 days. A Government can play the politics of fear up to a certain point, but there comes a time when people should step back and say hold on just a moment, why is it that we uniquely need this long period of detention?


The Government will shove the 42 days through when a terrorist attack happens. Disgusting tactics proving that theyve lost the argument. If the Government believed so passionately that this was essential then they would try harder to persuade us of the case for it by going through the Commons again even if it meant defeat. This tactic is a worrying example of how the Government will abuse its position in Parliament to get bad law on the books. Will the Government allow a terrorist to attack this country merely to get this on the books?

One other thing Vincent Wall should take in consideration , Gordon Brown froze Icelandic assets under anti terrorist legislation, just the latest evidence which shows you give Governments more powers at your peril, for the power you give them over your life is likely to be misused, regardless of all the soothing words and undertakings they give when trying to get legislation on the books.

I think the cynicism is on the Govt side who have tried to force this through to make themselves look stronger and the Conservatives weaker, but against all the evidence. No wonder it was defeated.

The problem with the 42 day proposal is that we cannot trust Government - certainly not this one! We have already seen anti-terrorist legislation used against litter louts, parents choosing schools and the Government of Iceland.

One: There can be no argument to impose a law which seeks to limit the liberty of an entire nation regardless of their expressed wishes.

Two: The bill was a pathetic waste of time as no detention request could possibly get through all the stages it gave without being blocked, thus Labour's bill was itself a political ploy.

Three: Even if the bill had passed and ( Two ) was able to apply such a law, the European Court would throw it out because it is in breach of the Fundamental Charter of Human Rights, as already stated by many MP's from all sides of the house and by the EU itself.

If Labour think it's so good then maybe they should include their plan to place innocent people into jail for 42 days whilst they find evidence to prove guilt, into a manifesto and call a general election.

However they won't do that because they don't do elections because they're all chicken !

Good. Perhaps the Labour government will abandon Daily Mail populism and use parliamentary time to do something more useful.

Congratulations to DD - a brave move finally vindicated. Excellent for Conservatives to be finally seen as bold champions of freedom (and Liberty).


Congratulations David D , what a disaster, Cameron has just scored another own goal , I can see the Billboards now at the next election
' Torys vote against powers to deal with terrorists""The Tories are weak on Terrorism" Vote Labour !

Then on top of all that David D former Shadow Home Sec wants to get rid of CCTV and the National DNA database which is supported by the police and has caught thousands of criminals , murderers, rapistsand redophiles.

At present there is the case which is now being tried in court about three idiots who tried to explode bombs in the West End of London and then tried to blow up the Airport in Scotland.

They were caught on CCTV and this evidence is being used at present in court. What message is this sending out to the public.

I don,t believe that some of the people on this blog , I think that this is another terrible mistake which will cause a lot of damage at the next election.

How many of those against 42 days support 28 days? Unless you support no more than, say, 3 days you have no principled opposition. There is no fundamental, philosophical difference between 28 days and 42 days: two weeks does not a principle make.

Of course there is an arbitrariness about this- there is about all sentencing. Why is 14 years the standard life sentence (apart from the fact our Judiciary and leaders think it vulgar to actually punish our criminals)? I think there is a limit, but I don't think it's 42 days and when we reach that limit it won't be because we have crossed some unbreachable line; it will be because it just feels wrong.

If people here are opposed to this because it feels too much, then fine: but be honest. The Libertarian, "protecting our ancient liberties" argument is tosh. There is no ancient right not to be held for 42 days and I'm sure when the magna charta was written much worse was done! If we're going to extol these documents, we should do it the way it is done in America: look at what was done back then after these documents were drafted. Of course we don't do this because then the charade would be revealed.

Good people can be found on either side of this debate. The Tory position was pure politics.

rugfish- the British people were overwhelmingly in favour of this legislation. When will our politicians start actually listening to the people? I see the elitist, Cavalier attitude is alive and well in the Tory party once again.

"the British people were overwhelmingly in favour of this legislation."

Depends if you call 30% an overwhelming majority!

"The Tory position was pure politics."

And Gordon Brown's reason for proposing this legislation wasn't?

David Davis mus be kicking himself for resigning as Shadow Home Secretary. Had he stayed he could have taken all the credit for the Govt's climbdown and he would have hugely strengthened his position in the Party.

No, Alexander, it is the Government’s position that is pure politics because, as stated above, it is a law that will be virtually impossible to implement.

The House of Lords have not approached this vote as an exercise in resolving the sorites paradox nor as a chance of giving the Government a kicking but through an appreciation that the balance between benefit and harm over personal freedom had already tipped too far one way. If the Conservatives can be accused of playing politics, it would be over the introduction of 28 days when many felt that opposing it would make them look weak.

I support the Conservatives mainly upon the grounds of practicality and that passing this bill would certainly not deter any would be terrorists, but be seen by them as an acknowledgement that our present anti-terrorism measures are inadequate.

In the event of a terrorist incident, or even the imminent threat of one, the Government already have virtually unlimited powers, including detention without charge, with no specified time limit, under the Civil Contingencies Act, which can be instantly activated by a single Minister, without even requiring the consent of Parliament.

If the Conservative shadow cabinet are, rightly, concerned about the erosion of civil liberties under the present Government, they should give an assurance that they will repeal and replace the Civil Contingencies Act as a matter of priority. It is a matter of shame that they did not display their current vigour and determination in opposing this appallingly draconian legislation during its passage through Parliament.

“Then on top of all that David D former Shadow Home Sec wants to get rid of CCTV and the National DNA database which is supported by the police and has caught thousands of criminals , murderers, rapistsand redophiles”.

Utter cobblers. DD wants to take people off the DNA database who have not been convicted or cautioned for a crime, including thousands of innocent children. The DNA database has not “caught” thousands (and its is paedophiles by the way). Some people have been trapped by historic data, many of whom have criminal records anyway so would remain on the database under DD plans.

Most of those that have been trapped by DNA evidence were known to the police, were DNA tested at the time of their arrest and had their DNA compared to that taken from the crime scene. The database never even came into it.

You are spouting typical NuLabour Bullsh1t I am afraid.

Good for DD and all the many others in the Conservative party and beyond who made this happen. It restors some of my lost faith in Britain. This measure was designed by Blair and henchmen purely as a political ploy to show the opposition as 'soft on terror'. They lost the argument completely and have now lost the vote. It is a shame that Blair and Brown are going to escape the humiliation they so richly deserve because this issue has been overshadowed by the economic crisis.


Sorry Hardcore Conservative , You should check your facts.

A lot of those people who were cautioned in the past and not been convicted have gone on to commit crime and have been caught.

Many of these Murderers and serious criminals. People have nothing to worry about if they have not committed any crime.

Talk to the police and find out the real facts not ones that suit your arguments.

Really Gezmond? Do you have any sources for your assertions or are you just making it up?

While al-Qaida won't be sharing in the champagne, no doubt there was cheering in the caves of Afghanistan too.


Yes Malcolm , I do as an ex member of a Police Authority and contacts with Senior Police Officers , who are mortified that the policy of David Davis could even be considered.

Tying their hands behind their backs, as a former Chief Constable put it to me.

"A lot of those people who were cautioned in the past and not been convicted have gone on to commit crime and have been caught".

Precisely my point, thank you.

If you have been cautioned or convicted you would remain on the database. If you were exonerated you would not. In order to be cautioned you are admitting your guilt. It is as simple as that.

Like I say most people who are convicted by DNA evidence are already known and the database does not come into it.

Contacts with senior police officers eh? All NuLabour supporters one and all no doubt.

“People have nothing to worry about if they have not committed any crime”.

Jesus, absolutely beyond belief.

I hope to see David Davis return to the shadow cabinet along with Lord Forsyth , John Redwood and Iain Duncan-Smith ! We need all the firepower that we can get to stop any further Labor advance in the polls ! Mr Hammond & Mr Duncan have been pretty feeble during this crisis while Peter Ainsworth is invisible as is Theresa Villiers , Andrew Mitchell and David Willetts . Caroline Spelman & Theresa May are just a joke and David Mundell is hated by the few remaining Scottish Tories . Lady Shepard & Sir Malcolm Rifkind have the experience to be in cabinet to help Cameron through the first term while Francis Maude is just out of his depth . Rifkind can do both shadow Commons Leader & Cabinet office combined , Adam Ayfrie would be fine at Skills & Universities , Eleanor Laing could be Shadow Scottish Secretary very well - again ! John Redwood knows transport inside out while Lady Shepard having been Agriculture Minister before would be first class as Rural Affairs shadow Secretary . IDS could be shadow chief secretary with a view to hitting Labor hard on waste while advancing the case for cuts and Lord Forsyth being a business expert would make short work of Mandelson . David Davis could be superb at health to champion service users - while the BMA mouthpiece Mr Lansley could be shown the door . Justine Greening would be effective at Local Government on selling the council tax freeze if her work on VED is anything to go by while Eric Pickles could win us loads of Northern seats if made Party Chairman judging by Crewe & Nantwich . Shalesh Vara is a creative & intelligent type who could bring a constructive tone to the overseas aid brief while having lots of great ideas to raise our profile on international development and thus prove to Lib Dem voters in marginal seats that we have changed & thus merit their support !

David Davis has been proved right on this & is a tough and superb operator who could challenge the vested interests as Health Secretary by putting service users first . He could deliver an NHS fit for the 21st Century much as Mr Gove will do with schools and Mr Grayling will with welfare . Health is an area where we are too timid - after the billions spent we need ideas & leadership . Not the bizarre feebleness of Mr Lansley - David Davis has been proved right over part -payment for health and is a hard-worker too ! With Angela Watkinson as his second in command in opposition and then in government we could get a healthcare revolution . Heaven help the dinosaurs of the BMA with them making hospitals patient friendly !

I don't know what's more horrifying:

- the proposal that a British subject could be locked up without charge for 6 weeks

- that so many supposed British Conservatives could so enthusiastic in their support of such a proposal

- or the government's response to the defeat, that they'll wait until they think they need it and then try and pass it quickly (obliterating any notion of equality before the law by changing the law as an ongoing investigation 'needs' it).

It's all quite appalling.

Posted by: Alexander Smith | October 14, 2008 at 13:59

Alexander, I for one have a principled stance, I admit it, I have principles. I detest the idea that anyone can be jailed / locked up whilst the police go searching for evidence....I see that as a gross infringement of civil liberty and I'm against it.

However, I am for 'better detection' prior to remand and I am for bail under licence and even surveillance if need be, or a tag, but I am vehementaly opposed to people being taken away from their families or places of work whilst the police ferret through their computers.

Caught in the act - yes there's sufficient evidence to remand.

No evidence - no, it means you're innocent, and that is the line I know is wrong if crossed.

They either have evidence or they do not.

As for the 28 days I'm against that too for the same reasons. Innocent until proven I feel and it's really down to that with me, but there are other safeguards such as prevention and early detection which can be utilised too.

It's not a political thing with me it's a personal thing and I care not what the rest of society thinks about it if no public debate has occurred on it. Anyway, the only people I've seen agreeing with it are planted Labour supporters on Question Time.

Adam (Oct 14th at 14.39)says 'David Davis must be kicking himself for resigning as Shadow Home Secretary, as he could have taken the credit for the Government's climbdown.'

I've read that, when he was in the Shadow Cabinet, that David Cameron would hold meetings of the Shadow Cabinet to which David Davis was not invited.

There must be an interesting story here. Could someone fill in the details please?

Really Gezmond? It's such a shame that your Chief Constable and the members of your police authority were unable to provide even one example where 42 days would have been considered necessary.
Once again I have the strong impression you are making it up as you go along.

Malcolm your a sad man , as if I would name a case to
Confirm to you that i have proof of the truth.

There are many cases where 42 days should have been available

To make sure that peoples lives were not put at risk.

You and David d are waiting for another 7/7 to take place

Before any action to halt a terrorist killing 100,s of people. Happens

Action should be taken now before it's too late!

Well, we've detained people for up to 28 days, how much harder can it be to hold them for 42 days? Granted, more porridge will be needed, but apart from that?

As to Brown's motivations: these are not the issue. I'm certainly not defending Brown. The issue here is Conservative policy. The fact is, many Conservatives supported this legislation- both in the House and in the Party. Just because the extremist Libertarians on this site don't is not an indication of wider Conservative sentiment. I would imagine this would be a rather popular measure amongst many rank and file Conservatives, and yet the Party opposed it because it was a chance to deal a blow to the Govt.

I don't know where this "30%" comes from. The Sun had an overwhelming majority in favour of it.

As to deterring terrorists: a law which doesn't necessarily deter terrorists, but gives the authorities the ability to investigate possible plots and to gather evidence against suspects seems a pretty useful law to me.

"Malcolm your a sad man , as if I would name a case to
Confirm to you that i have proof of the truth." Gezmond 007, 22:50

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not about to take a wholly unsupported assertion on trust. You made the claim, you need to back it up with evidence.

Personally, I am against detention without charge for 28 days as well, and am very pleased that this appalling proposal has been defeated.

For the record, I wouldn't describe myself as a libertarian either, although I don't see that tag as the insult some people on this thread seem to regard it as either.

Tory Lord Tebbit, himself a victim of terrorists, rightly asked yesterday what his party will do if they win power and find they need 42 days. How will they possibly argue for it?

Leaving aside the arguments over civil liberties, that's actually a very easy question to answer

Noone has shown that 42 days is necessary. "If they find they need 42 days" that would mean that there was new evidence.


All it hinges on is whether the law should be permitted to remove the liberty of one of our citizens without sufficient evidence to make a charge. i.e. An 'innocent' person could be held 'without charge' to allow police to gain evidence which they do not have.

The simple fact they possess NO evidence means there are no proper grounds to detain a person other than 'suspicion'.

Suspicion is not good enough to hold people without charge beyond a reasonable period to permit questioning.

If the law went beyond that premise then it meanders into an encroachment of civil liberty and into being reminiscent of a police state and scaremongering tactics of terrorists running amok simply because the police doesn't have the power to detain ( suspects ) for longer than 28 days, is akin to pre-war fascism which sent a country paranoid, thus escalating the problem of internal resistence and 'terrorism'.

There should be a tightening up of border control. There should be a system of checks on criminal registers of visitors. There should be greater surveillance and investigatory powers if required along with stricter bail conditions, tags, monitors, daily attendance, and a range of other routes to solve a 'suspected problem' which doesn't exist until a jury says it does or until an act of terror is witnessed.

But also there needs to be a realisation that we are at WAR with half the middle east and tougher rules of immigration should apply for this very reason.
We are after all an island and very easy to defend ourselves from inviting likely suspects into our country if we actually bothered deploying some controls rather than permitting any Tom, Dick or Harry ( no matter what past they have ), into our country to roam at free will without any procedures in place to prevent those who will remain suspects for as long as we are at war with their host nations or posing a perceived threat to THEM by way of our attachment to foreign policies which call them the axis of evil.

If they ARE evil before they come here then why the heck are we inviting them here in the first place and why are we incapable of checking their past ?

Why do I and everyone else have to be subjected to a loss of liberty for the governments own lack of competence to deal with these matters ?

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