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Don't assume that the Home Office is rampant for 28 days

CAMERON-PENSIVE A footnote on yesterday's Government decision to maintain pre-charge detention for 28 days pending a six month review.  As Jonathan noted, it was announced in a written statement.  When Labour used this means to smuggle out important decisions during the last Parliament, their Conservative Shadows queued up to complain that Ministers were evading proper scrutiny.  Now they're acting - or did at least in this case - in the same way.

David Davis was thus able to raise the issue only with Sir George Young in Business Questions, rather than after an oral statement by Theresa May - who could then have been quizzed on the matter, and held to account for the decision.  The Home Secretary should have come to the floor of the Commons to enable this to happen.

I flagged up tensions within the Coalition on this matter on Monday, and indicated that the case for keeping 28 days simply hasn't been proved.  At least, as Davis acknowledged, the issue's not being kicked into the long grass for a year.  Perhaps this explains why the decision hasn't created more waves.  By the way, don't assume that the Home Office is rampant for 28 days, since Downing Street always keeps a very close watch on security matters.

Paul Goodman


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