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The comparison with what the US is or is not doing is meaningless. It'll only become a relevant comparison when we start complementing our internment policies with an offshore concentration camp our government has deliberately sought to place beyond the reach of British judges, precisely so that its actions would be outside due legal scrutiny.


Three questions:

When the HoL throw this dreadful legislation out. Will you support the government in enforcing rhe Parliament Act and riding roughshod over our democratic system once again?

When this legislation is condemned by the ECHR and this country's name is further blackened internationally, will you still support it then?

As we are advised by the government, there is a very grave threat, so when the next successful attack occurs (we have had three failed attacks since 28 days was implemented that the police had no idea about until after the event) what measures will you accept then. 60, 120, or 360 days or even the executive override legislation that Jack Straw is trying to sneak in?

I am horrified at this editorial line - and at some of those who back it.

The matter is one of principle - of liberty - the one remaining thing that distinguishes us from the corporatist state and makes being British worthwhile.

Both sides have been very selective in quoting from their supporters but for me the practical argument boils down to a nasty but simple one - 'I no longer trust the police'. I have seen too much recently of subservience to the state, addiction to targets and persecution of the innocent.

Most of the terrorist cases result in multiple charges . In most cases one of these charges could be brought forward to justify detention while more detailed investigations continue.

On balance I think 28 days is too long as well. (no need to stick to multiples of 7 -- !!) 15 days should be quite enough.

Brown is hammering Cameron on this at PMQs.

"I see too many Con Homers have started to believe what they read in The Sun."


How many con homers read the sun?

Bloody hell Tim you just given G Brown a leg up even though DC deals with it well.

The Fisting Clunk has just given you a hat tip.

So bring up conservative home is below the level of debate LOL LOL LOL. Thanks a bunch toruy leader.

Quoted by Gordon Brown - you must be very proud Tim!

Umbrella Man - 4 weeks in jail with out any charge being made is not quite as offensive as 6 weeks but still an outrage to our civil liberties.

Gordon Brown obviously didn't read the comments on this post today.

On the IRA points. I don't see as much of a difference between then and now as you do.

>We do not have such good intelligence about today's extremists. Not yet anyway.

That was the position with the IRA at various points.

>Today's terrorists attack without warning.

No change.

>They are willing to use mentally ill children as suicide bombers.

I'm not aware of mentally ill children (but they certainly beat them up), but the IRA used civilians as "human bombs" by making them drive a bomb into an army checkpoint then detonating it while the driver was still in the car.

>They want to kill as many people as possible.

Nihilism (OK, motivated nihilism as we see it). Agree with you.

>They don't want some of our territory.

I though the caliphate was an aim.

>They won't be satisfied until we are destroyed or enslaved.

Agree with you on that point.

I'll not repeat all the anti-42 days comments printed here, which I completely agree with.

However, I think it is worth noting that the overwhelming majority of the public want the death sentence brought back, but the politicians always vote against it, so let's not go down the 'pandering to the public voice when it's convenient' line, please, Editor.

Over the last two decades, we have seen an insidious authoritarian tendency in legislation. There has been a well-nurtured growth of public brain-washing that we, the people, exist to facilitate government, whether at local, national or EU level.

My son was in the London Underground system at the time of the last atrocity, and I spent two hours of heart-stopping fright until I learnt that he was safe. A 60yr old friend was also caught up in the same incident, and despite being a very calm man, it took him some weeks to get over the shock. Nevertheless, I do not scream for further infringement of our liberty.

Gordon Brown just mentioned this in PMQS so kudos!
But while i do believe that more time will be needed, i'm not sure this is the best way. Its got messy, and if more effort had been put in to get a consensus, we might have a better plan.

Gordon Brown has just this very web site to support his case for 42 days detention and it is my opinion, for what it is worth, that allowing him the comfort of your support is akin to treachery!

It is right that this issue should be subject to a free vote on conscience but let us remember that our laws were grounded in the tyrannies of yore and that the Magna Carta is still extant. We must never give in to the cheap politics that the socialists attempt and we must certainly never allow our hard fought freedoms to be lost forever as a result of political stupidity.

If we allow the 42 days then we are on the slippery slope to the total errosian of those freedoms that the socialists argue they are trying to protect.

"I don't trust this Government's ability to manage a big IT programme so oppose them on ID cards" - so in principle you are in favour of this extension of government power then? Just checking.

I see no evidence in these comments that Conservative party members generally agree with the government's position on 42 days detention without trial.

Gordon Brown lies again (don't hold the front page).

>'I no longer trust the police'.

I'm not sure how this will play on Con Home, but essentially - yes. I don't have a basic assumption of trusting the police anymore; I think the police/public relationship is undermined by the events such as the Operation Ore fallout, SOCPA, Mr Pugh has his proposed DNA tests on primary school children and so on. Something is very broken somewhere.

Particular circumstances and cases are different, but I am not willing to assume that law enforcement will be handled objectively any more (or - necessarily - that the laws enforced are fair or reasonable).

Yes, I put most of it at the door of New Labour - but that doesn't alter the facts on the ground.

Repairable? Yes - eventually.

I cannot read Conservative Home any more if you support the locking up of innocent people for 42 days.

I'll say it again Tim. And I won't mince words.

Gordon Brown has just used your words to damage our party and make us look a laughing stock. Moreover, your comments may have seriously jeapordised any chance of defeating the 42-day bill this evening and make the party look disunified in the news this evening.

No doubt this was your intention.

I am absolutely FURIOUS with your behaviour and I hope you feel suitably embarassed. (Which you won't - because you think you're always right and you have no shame)

You are not Matthew D'Ancona. This is not a Newspaper or a Magazine which people buy/or subscribe to.

This is a site to represent the views and opinions of the grassroots. *NOT* a forum for you to flaunt your ego and push your own agenda.

Shame on you.

I wasn't going to comment on this but I've just listened to Brown using CH to attack David Cameron. I suspect you're going to get it in the neck, which would be deeply unfair.

Well done, Tim for expressing the views of a large minority of Conservative supporters. I am genuinely torn on this issue but too many Conservative opponents of 42 days are airily dismissing very real security concerns while siding with Liberty and other illiberal organisations.

The scum who plan mass murder may be comical in the shallowness of their lame Islamist ideas but they are deadly in their potential to kill innocent people.

My post from politicalbetting.

It’s amazing that the ConHome editorial team are constantly whingeing about the curtailing of liberty and democracy by the EU - but fail to see that this Government’s authoritarian proposal, motivated as it is by base political calculation and supported by little evidence is a fundamental attack on civil liberties.

No wonder that they have zero credibility with the Conservative Party in Parliament and CCHQ, who don’t bother copying them into press releases.

Frankly, theirs is a shameful and unjustified position which they will regret.

If the Conservative Party does not stand up for the freedom of the individual, the rule of law, and liberty from unwarranted control by the state, then it no longer stands for anything. Interference with these principles should go no further than is absolutely justified. 28 days is very difficult to justify; 42 days impossible. A combination of the view of the DPP and the existing emergency powers puts the position beyond doubt. By publishing this editorial, no doubt in an attempt to alter the views of some Conservatives, you are doing the Party and the constitutional principles which underpin this nation a great disservice.

Heated arguments and debate on this topic. I look forward to hearing them all again when 90 Detention is before the House once more. Salami tactics. . . Slice by Slice. : )


Though I disagree with you on the substance of the point, I would like to distance myself from those who are (and will be) attacking you for giving Gordon Brown a weapon to beat us. Your editorial lines are of great interest, and a key part of the attraction of the site. You should feel under no obligation to simply echo what the site's readers think or the Conservative Party's official line. Readers here were happy enough to proclaim you a hero when you opposed the party's line on grammar schools. Well, this time they (and I) largely disagree with you. Tough on us! Your view is your view, and it is an important and interesting one.

Common Sense - Unfree people are very secure, in their chains. I agree the balance is crucial and we have always accepted extremely limited pre-charge detention on grounds of public safety and justice. The problem is that many see this as the latest slice of salami. For me I would rather be free and relatively secure than secure and unfree. The danger is that by ratcheting up our security measures choking away our liberty we end up neither free nor secure.

Andrew Lilico at 09.54:

"I can see a case for making it easier to charge people accused of terrorist offences, reflecting the potential dangers of letting such people wander free. But there should be *some* kind of case against them that can lead to a charge".

This is my view entirely (expressed again today at 09.42).

There are two sides to the coin, the more important of which is the requirement to charge a suspect within a very short time, vide Shami Chakrabarti's strong views on the subject. She is very articulate and fair minded and should be listened to.

The other side of the coin - the length of time a suspect can be held - should in my view be sufficiently elastic to fit the reasonable needs of the police and DPP. Clearly any suspect detained for a longish time should regularly be brought before a judge.

Jennifer Wells
The Iraq war was supposed to male our children safer.
Did it?
When we now have home grown terrorists bolwing themselves up over here.
Do you think the Iraq war made it easier or harder for them to be recruited?
Fool me once,mshame on you. Fool me twice, sheane on me.
It staggers me that the british people can be so stupid and so selfish as to let fear override sensilbe thought.
Jennifer, ythis could make things worse, just like internment did?
The onlyperson who is safer after this is Gordon Brown.
It worried me after Iraq that noone would be able totake the requests of the securtiy services seriously anymore.
Fortunately, they are not asking for it.

Nice one from John Moss!

The day we make laws based on opinion polls is the day we take the first step on the road to dictatorship.

Which presumably knifes that referendum lobby as well as the 42 days??

I propose a compulsory annual lottery for all MPs voting for this measure.
One of their number would be picked each year by lot, to be detained for 42 days without compensation.

Any takers ?

I wont bother saying anything because Andrew Lilico took the words right out of my mouth.

Was it really stewart Jackson thaat wrote that comment?

You have just embrassed the party. And now Brown will win this vote. Not only will he get a boost and postpone his fall form power but innocent people will be locked up because of you.

How would you feel being locked up for 42 days?

I totally agree with Stewart Jackson, MP (@ 12:45). I thought this site was getting better in recent times - more quality debates, less personal abuse/trolling and a focus on this nasty/incompetent government and how best to get rid of them. And now this. My heart sank!

I'm now going to send a cheque off to Liberty - as it's clear we cannot trust all Conservatives to protect hard our hard-won civil liberties. Today is a sad day to be a ConHomer.

The next time this site goes on about the EU infringing on our fundemental liberties, I quote this thread back.

Henry - It is always better to argue the merits of the matter in hand than to resort to cheap and nasty insult. I profoundly disagree with the line being taken by the Editor, but everyone is entitled to their view.

I see no reason why there should be any limit on length of detention, so long as anyone detained is permitted periodic reviews of their incarceration by a Judicial Tribunal, they are tried when evidence is sufficient or released when it is considered they no longer pose a danger, that proper punishments for crimes are introduced for convicted criminals including execution and torture and that prisoners can be questioned after being charged.

If there us a lot of work to do in preparing a proper case because ( they say ) they will have to move early . Then instead of twice as long why not put twice as many people on it. The resources can be redirected from their vital driver irritating activities?

If the safeguards involve Parliamentary review en route ,how can Parliament decide on the basis of inadequate evidence ? They will have to take the security forces word for if so it is no safeguard at all.

3 Liberty note on comoparisons
“Carlile’s comments on Italy, meanwhile—suggesting that the suspects in the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher could spend up to a year in custody without being charged—flatly contradict the advice we have received from Italian lawyers revealing confusion between pre-charge and pre-trial detention'

4 Douglas Adams road tested a variety of numbers on Stephen Fry looking or the most forgettable number he could so as to make it funnier in Hitch Hikers' . This forgettable quality is exactly the process by which Brown arrived at 42 , there is no other.Brown is quite literally making a joke of freedom.

5-WE are not at war and the forces against us are not master criminals as it entirely obvious from their loonish amateurish plans. The IRA were far far better equipped organised and trained and Major did not require a police state .

No to 42 days
No to Brown
No to this vile attempt to co-opt anti Muslim feeling their own foolishness has created into the Labour cause.

Shame on Conservative Home and we all know what this is really about .It is that religious war they have convinced themselves, along with Blair, is going on. This ,for them ,is a way for the new crusaders to bang up a few of the ungodly.

The case for 42 days has not been made and they have utterly failed to make it here...oooo stuff we know .... can`t say more ... PITIFUL, and I daresay exactly the same appeall to adolescent conceit has been made to the Labour rebels.
Grown ups playing at soldiers , is there any more ridiculous sight?

Reading the comments on thios site you come to realise that some people, like me, just aren't nasty enough for politics.

I feel so sorry for tim because of the outrageous way people are treating him, particularky Stewart Jackson.

I hope everyone realises that it is possible to disagree with someone, as I have, without resulting to personal abuse.

"I agree with 42 days or whatever is necessary to keep my children safe."

Posted by: Jennifer Wells | June 11, 2008 at 08:33

But what if for some reason it is one of your children detained under these powers? Councils already use anti-terror legislation to snoop on residents so do you really believe that the 42 days powers will be confined to 'special' circumstances? What if its you who are in the wrong place at the wrong time and get swept up and lifted in an investigation, detained for 42 days and then released? What would your children do then?

"I agree with 42 days or whatever is necessary to keep my children safe."

2 years without trial? 5 years?

Rounding up all those who fit the profile into camps?

the whole point of terrorists is to terrorise governments into reducing our civil liberties - this has already been done with the despicable civil contingency act. We should stand up to terrorists and strengthen our civil liberties not weaken them- 28 days is already higher than most other countries i personally think too high - i think the right limit is 14 days .

Whatever keeps your children safe -let's put terrorist attacks into perspective here , you are more likely to be run over by a car than killed in a terrorist attack - with your logic you'd arrest anyone driving a car .

Also vital intelligence comes from within the muslim community -this destroys it .

the safeguards are worthless -because of the civil contingency act .

Cameron is right when he said in PMQS it may not be popular , but its the right decision not to vote for 42 days .

as the home affairs select comittee said there is already mission creep creating a survelliance society - do we seriosly want to extend this -when there is no evidence where 42 days has been needed - i really dont see how people can support this - theres no evidence - what it will cause is police dragging out cases to 42 days Increasing bureaucrac - so it is an incompetent bill as well as dictatorial.

the police are meant to be neutral -AKPO is not acting neutral in relation to 42 days and neither is Ian Blair

If someone is arrested they must be told what criminal offence they are being arrested for - i.e. they must be charged.

"No different to 28 days".

So if I go up to you and hit you 28 times it is O.K. for me to hit you another 14 times and say "what is the difference between 28 and 42".

Ditto if I were to steal 28 Pounds from you and then said that this meant it was O.K. for me to steal another 14 Pounds.

One wrong does not justify another wrong - and 28 wrongs do not justify another 14 wrongs.

There is also the absurd doctrine that one can not investigate a case after someone has been charged (including investigate by questioning them). That doctrine needs to be ditched.

And if one finds that someone has committed another crime (or crimes) on top of what one has already charged them with - then CHARGE THEM WITH THAT AS WELL.

The idea that one must have all the evidence in place for the trial from the first moment of charging someone is absurd - as the trial is normally LONG after the arrest.

In fact that is another scandal - people (although they have been charged) should not be kept in prison waiting for trial for months on end.

Now if the government was saying "there must be a maximum of 42 days between arrest and TRIAL" (not CHARGE) then they would be making sense. There is no reason why the "remand" system has to be as it is - after all there is a built in limit in Scots law.

As for "protect the children" - that line can be used to "justify" anything at all.

I hope that wasn't really Stewart Jackson commenting, what's the policy on checking these things? Does he always say people who disagree with him hold "a shameful and unjustified position"?! I bet he wishes he had the same level of 'zero credibilty' in the corridors of power as CH! As it is he seems to be resorting to childish comments.

you forgot in your editorial to mention that lord dear says its not needed, dame Pauline Neville Jones said it not needed, the former home secretary Michael Howard has said it's not needed,and the director of public prosecutions Ken Macdonald who would have to put this legislation into practice said it is not needed . M15 hasn't even asked for it.

The authorotarian wing of the conservative party represented by people such as Anne Widdecombe and people like Edward Leigh and the cornerstone group -want an increase in authoratarianism - most sensible people dont - yet thanks to their votes -the government will win this bill

You fail to convince me. 28 days is more than enough, and for you to so blatantly support this government today of all days in what is no more than a political gesture aimed at bigging up Brown defies all reason.

does this mean Tim Montgomery is voting for 42 days -so much for civil liberties mattering

also they've played bingo with the numbers for detention without charge first when brown came to power it was 60 , then 58 , then 52 , then 48 and finally 42 -doesn't this show they dont even know themselves how long it should be.

I have no problem in particular with 42 days although this figure like any other is arbitary, but might be justifiable due to the existential new threat to our way of life posed by jihadi terrorism and the complex transnational nature of the precharge investigations spanning the globe and involving multiple agencies eg Interpol/Europol/FCO etc. After all for years I was partly responsible for detaining individuals on suspicion of being mentally ill for up to 28 days and if the diagosis was confirmed this could be converted to 6 months which would almost ceratinly happen if they were deemed to be mentally ill and potentially a danger to themselves or others. I dont recollect anyone saying that the Mental Health Act should be scrapped.
The inbuilt safeguard should be the right of those detained to generous compensation from the state for wrongful imprisonment by the police if the detainees can show there was a malicious element to the detention and there were no terrorist charges subsequently pressed.

If the safeguards put in place by the government are effective (as Tim believes them to be) why have an upper limit at all? Not so long ago the idea of 28 days detention would be unthinkable, now 42 will it soon be 56? 90? 190? Where will it stop?

Tim knows that I do not say this out of any personal malice but on this one I think he is completely wrong. Like Andrew Lilico I defend his right to do so but this measure takes us a step further down a very dangerous road.

I now work closely and regularly with the police and I have a great deal of respect for them, however they are not and should not be politicians. They have a job to do and we have ours, it is weak government just to say "they have asked for this, who are we to say no?"

I'm true blue - I was a memeber for twenty years. I'm quite right wing too: I'd like to cut the welfare state and boost defence spending etc. I don't like or want to support Dave Cameron. BUT I oppose 42 days without charge. It's unenglish, and I don't trust the goverment (this or any other) to use the powers safely. They will be abused. If anything we should give the police LESS and FEWER draconian powers.

why is everyone ignoring the civil contingency's act -which in an emergency gives the executive powers to detain someone for 60 days -creating a police state .

Very good comment from Charles Tannock MEP @ 13.38. I recommend it.

Hang on but terroists want us to reduce our liberties , they are determined to destroy our western liberal democracy - they will do that whether we have a threat of locking them up for 28 , 42 or 90 days it doesn't matter because they are crazed individuals . we not be doing there job and undermining our democracy

if the government really did care about stopping terrorism, than in the first place im afraid to this both conservative and labou governments shouldn't have let people like Abu Quatada , Abu Hamza and Yusuf Al quawadari to sow the seeds of terrorism

If the government really care about terrrorism they would stand up to them Muslim Council of Britain who always makes excuses for terrorism and is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood - a book on terrorism by Ed Hussain shows this

If the government really cared about terrorism - they would allow intercept evidence and increase the days after someone has been charged .

if the government cared about terrorism they wouldn't have created a surveillance society -according to the Home Affairs select comittee .

when are the authoratarian wing of the conservative party going to realise that you cant stop terrorism by ill thought out measures which are ineffective and reduce civil liberties.

Adding to my comment at 11.49. I didn't watch PMQs but it seems Bottler quoted your favourable editorial on 42 days. Giving succour to the enemy!ConHome knows how to damage the Tory Party.

the question of intelligence - we would have better inteligence if we didn't alienate the muslim community where we need to gather intelligence from , this makes the jobs of people like Ed Hussain worse.

"Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe." - Edmund Burke

I also disagree with the Editorial team's view and their timing.

However, I believe that they are entitled to make their views known. That's why this site is interesting.

There's no need for the personal attacks.

Don't make me laugh, Don'tmakemelaugh.

Are you seriously suggesting Iran is planning to use "an armour piercing device" to attack Jennifer Wells' children?

This "OH MY GOD WE ARE ALL UNDER ATTACK" hysteria really doesn't stand up to a moments logical thought....

Posted by: comstock | June 11, 2008 at 09:19

Unless we take the necessary steps to deafeat Islamism then there is nothing to prevent (except war) Iran if armed with nuclear weapons and sophisticated devices from arming terrorists. We are not talking Binge Drinking here. Forward thinking is required. We are engaged in a war on three fronts; Iraq, Afghanistan and a covert war at home. In the words of the Scout Motto: Be prepared.
Tim is right: we should heed the advice of a head of the Anti- Terrorist Unit and have the 42 days.

I despair over the misguided support for 42 days. This has everything about a government desperate to look tough with a figure picked out of the air and play politics with it. The simple fact is that the 28 day total has yet to be exceeded, so why is more needed? We should be protective of our liberty, people died for it after all.

I personally would like to see a review of the current legislation with a view to drop the total.

Looking at the wider picture, this change further damages civil liberties world wide and our credibility on this front. It would be a great aid to Tin Pot dictators the world over. As they follow the route legitimised by "Comrade Brown".

I'd also note that these laws will go on until repealed, as no sunset clause has been added, and could in the future be used to lock ANYONE up with NO proof.

One day the pro-liberty fellow contributors listed here might well been seen as a lot like a bunch of dodgy terrorist types in need of locking up for a start.... ;-)


In 6 months time the police or Home Secretary will come along with a proposal to increase detention without trial to 56 days. The same arguments, for and against, will apply. So, when it comes up to 90 days I expect you to be consistent and support that too, or even 6 months - after all what's the difference in principle?

Please do not blog again about "our" liberties being subverted by the EU.

The supposed link between the EU and this is tenuous at best. This is a proposal made by Our government, supported by Our public, and will be held accountable by Our courts!

I don't agree with ConHome on this one for the main reason that other developed countries have not indicated that they require this level of detention without trial for their own suspects.

Just because the Police want something doesn't mean Government has to do it. They don't run the country.

After 42 days, some officers will be calling for 60, then perhaps 72. When you go down this road, where does it end?

Your argument comes down to 'the police have said they would like more time'.

Do you believe them? They regularly lie over other topics.

And do you believe that the police should be given whatever they want? They would like to be above the law - indeed, in many aspects they are already. Would you give them that?

A very good example of what you are doing would be to formally agree that no policeman should be punished if they shoot an innocent person. The police would certainly like that, and a good argument can be made that this would enable them to better address the situation where a terrorist cell is believed to be planning an explosion (a situation when you appear to believe that all constraints should be removed). So let's imagine that we do this.

What do you think would actually happen? Would terrorists be able to be engaged earlier? No, what would happen would be that the police would shoot more people for a variety of unrelated reasons.

Now can you see why allowing the police to be above the law is such a bad idea?

Your argument comes down to 'the police have said they would like more time'.

Do you believe them? They regularly lie over other topics.

And do you believe that the police should be given whatever they want? They would like to be above the law - indeed, in many aspects they are already. Would you give them that?

A very good example of what you are doing would be to formally agree that no policeman should be punished if they shoot an innocent person. The police would certainly like that, and a good argument can be made that this would enable them to better address the situation where a terrorist cell is believed to be planning an explosion (a situation when you appear to believe that all constraints should be removed). So let's imagine that we do this.

What do you think would actually happen? Would terrorists be able to be engaged earlier? No, what would happen would be that the police would shoot more people for a variety of unrelated reasons.

Now can you see why allowing the police to be above the law is such a bad idea?

Alex - Indeed on a technical point the argument seems to be that there might be a complex plot that would mean the police ran out of time under the current rules. So we change the rules fine there is a certain logic to that. But do we keep imagining bigger and bigger plots that might run out of the latest time frame. We should capitulate neither to the terrorist extremists nor the anti-terrorist extremists.

How many of the MPs trooping through the lobbies in support of detention without trial in the UK are willing to support detention without trial by the US in Guantanamo Bay ?

This is the most centralising, authoritarian, dictatorial government in recent history and any proposal to give it further arbitrary powers is frightening. They have shown in their treatment of Dr David Kelly and Walter Wolfgang how ruthless they can be with people who get in their way.

And as for the police, after their disastrous mishandling of the Jean Charles de Menezes case their credibility in counter terrorist matters has been completely shattered.

Whilst, Tim and Sam have every right to post whatever they like (is this still a free country?). However, in my eyes just as Guido and Dizzy through their cynical fervour lost a great deal of such credibility as he has over the weekend, so has Conhome (sic) today for its naive and superficial assessment.

Whatever the merits of the arguments over 42 days, the timing of Conhome's pronouncement, its supine acceptance of the Government's last minute spin campaign and the likelihood that the Government are going to win in anycase raises questions whether this was done purely in the spirit of journalistic sensationalism.

In my eyes Conservative Home can no longer claim to be the home of the 'conservative' grass roots but is now just another blog espousing its own brand of political machinations.

Perhaps in future this blog should be renamed 'Montgomerie's Musings'

I certainly understand where John Leonard is coming from here.

ConHome is a vital contribution to the debate on the centre-right BUT is basically a site which should represent Conservative supporters and act in the best interests of the Party.

What it shouldn't do is attack policy when it has absolutely no chance of changing it and when it is evident such a move could damage the Party. I won't say that the editorial team should have predicted Brown's opportunistic use of their article but this move was blatantly mistimed.

Opposition to 42 days has been our policy for a long time. Why the moral outrage now? Why release this at the time when it causes the Party most damage?

Wrong to post this article today. Very wrong & very bad to seek to scupper DC's superb work in reviving the party.

scampi: were the editors seeking to scupper david cameron or simply stating their view on something they thought important?

this is only a blog!

Is the substance espoused in the editorial wrong? I believe so. Was it wrong to publish it today? Possibly. Was it wrong to publish this at all? Absolutely not. We are entitled to disagree, but we should do so with respect. The editor has one opinion, I have another. We all probably have nuanced positions on this. It is why we have debate which should not descend into character invective.

Rubbish. 42 days will not prevent any atrocity. The justification is just that it will help the police to prove who did it after the fact. Who in their right mind, apart from the taxi drivers I've spoken to, is willing to give our control freak bureaucracy the right to lock us up for 6 weeks when they've already abused the so-called anti-terror legislation they've brought in? The concessions made to try and force this through make a complete hash of it anyway.

Just read Kafka.

Someone thinks something "...may mean that more than 28 days of investigations might soon be necessary" and this is justification for locking someone up for six weeks without any charge whatsoever.

We have NEVER held anyone for 28 days without charge. I therefore see no need for any change in the legislation.

What price liberty?

Last week they came for the man in the next street, no one cared. Then they came for the Jew on the corner again no one said anything. Last night they came for my neighbour, I said nothing. Tonight they came for me!...................I suppose most of you have heard the original, well think on with your 42 days because that is the first step.

A total own goal by ConservativeHome. I am critical of Cameron on other matters but he has a right to be livid over this.

No evidence based case has been made for 42 days and the argument boils down to 'we are the Police - Trust us'

The so called public backing for 42 days is a red herring. Must of them probably think it only applies to Muslims !

"I have no problem with locking up a guilty man for 42 days without charge."

Until that man is you, and the accusation is false.

If 4 days can become 28, and 28 may become 42, why can't 42 become 90, or 360? And thence to Guatanamo?

We are in an era in which individuals can be sacrificed for the common good: a few people deported to torture, a few detained without charge, a few wrongly convicted. And no-one really bothers because the numbers are so few, and they are recognisable 'not of us'. But it is Christian insight which challenges the view of the dispensability of human beings, and it is Christianity which is foundational to our civilisation.

42 days is immoral because it is arbitrary, and uncivilised because it is unjust.


what a sad and disappointing article to post, and so wrongheaded.

You claim that there is no substantial and principled difference between 28 and 42 day detention. You seem to believe that this means we must opt for the greater curtailment of liberty and have 42 day detention. I fail to see why. Indeed, why stop at 42 days, why not 50 or 90 or 200?

You think it will all be ok because the courts will be involved somewhere along the way. I cannot see what help they'll be seeing as the whole point is that you're not being charged with anything - what are the courts being asked to judge as reasonable? And if the courts safeguard is so good, why have any limit at all on detention without trial? Why not just say you have keep putting suspects before a judge every week until you want to charge them or release them?

My particular gripe those is our intelligence was much better against the IRA, and consequently we never needed such measures against them. You appear to have forgotten that besides atrocities such as Omagh or Birmingham, the IRA assassinated Airey Neave (in the grounds of Westminster), Ian Gow, Lord Mountbatten, attempted to wipe out the Cabinet at Brighton, and again in Downing Street. Your arguments don't stack up unless you think the government knew those attacks were coming and chose to let them come.

After describing the islamist desire to enslave Britain you assert that the defences must match the threat. The thinking is muddled. Whether the islamists desire to enslave us or not is irrelevant to our security defences against them. What matters is there technical capabilities.

You also mentioned that comparisons with Europe were irrelevant. What about comparisons with the US, Canada and Australia?

You've also declined to engage with arguments about allowing intercept evidence, post-charge questioning, using lesser charges etc.. Any reason why?

Where did 42 days come from? Is it true that it was chosen because of the reference to it in "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"?
If that is the case doesn`t it make this whole thing just a joke and purely an exercise in showing how "strong" the most unpopular Prime Minister in recent history is.

You all need your own Guantanamo, where you can detain prisoners of war beyond the reach of the legal system. Then you wouldn't have these Goldilocks arguments as to whether 28 days is not enough, whether 90 days is too much, and whether 42 days is just right. I propose Diego Garcia.

42 days is too long. So is 28 days. 48 hours sounds about right.

Faith in the Police? Recent track record does not engender confidence....

Do you trust - I mean really trust - this or any future government with this power? Look around the world at governments that abuse their citizens with such authority. We are most fortunate to have in place a system of checks and balances to protect the individual. Not perfect I grant you but we compromise it at our peril.

The issue is not about whether people are terrorists, but about whether anybody can be detained on the basis of a suspicion about which the authrities are so unconfident that they don't even make a charge. If the CPS don't think there is a case to be made, then what is the basis for detention?

"They won't be satisfied until we are destroyed or enslaved."

Are you completely mad, or just high? Destroyed? ENSLAVED?? What exactly did you have in mind? The entire white middle class chain-ganged and whipped into hourly eastward prayer by Bin Laden on horseback? If the nature of this froathing mouth middle-england Daily Mail horseshit weren't so serious I would have died laughing.

I admire you for nailing your colours to the mast, really I do. I am just very concerned when an argument needs to be interspersed with deliberately provocative scaremongering phrases like this. If this is a leaf from the Melanie Phillips book of journalism, please put it back.

What a furore!

Of all the issues that we have debated recently, this above all needs the principles of the argument clearly stating before the debate begins.

My only criticism, Tim, of your article is that you didn't devote much attention to the "without charge" part of the argument - i.e. the all-important bit.

No, locking an innocent man up for 42 days is wrong.

If this is about encryption and someone refuses to help they can already be charged.

This is about making Brown look tough on security, and is a mistake, like so many others since 1997.

And I've listed them all.


Not to put too fine a point on it Mr Editors of ConHome - you'r a bag of shite.

Dumb assed and ignorant shite at that.

What evidence is there that we need any extension. Well?

What evidence? EVIDENCE?

All we have is evidence of your own stupidity.

Oh ... oh ... oh ...oh ... stop press ---- The police say we need 10,000 more speed cameras 2 million more surveillance cameras. All our cars need micro chipping along with our waste bins and... oh ... wait ... the message is just coming though ... because of imminent danger of global warming or is it cooling but any way some global disaster which is inevitably er possibly going to happen we need to all have our movements restricted our identities triple checked and because we cannot possibly overstretch the hard working tax funded health service - yes - its clear now because a DOCTOR says so ... we must all stop our private health care and obey a government approved diet and lifestyle. oh and only take approved drugs.

Sorry gee how stupid can I be - yes yes yes -- you guys at ConHome are really brilliant after all ... how could I be so wrong, I feel so foolish --- yes yes its true I can feel the thought coming, I understand now, oh joy, ... 'I Love Big Brother'

A lower detention limit (ie. keeping it at 28 days) will encourage the Police to make sure they have better-founded initial suspicions before arresting someone ... rather than arresting first in the knowledge that they have plenty of time to investigate more fully later while the suspect is detained.

That is what seems to have happened in several cases. Wrongful arrest - particularly the necessarily brutal nature of a terrorism arrest - is precisely what leads to alienation among targetted groups. I'm far from convinced that slipping them a few quid compensation will negate such an experience.

In fact, the compensation plan could make matters a lot more complicated. It's not beyond the wit for people to find this a nice earner. Many desperate people would be pleased to sit in a cell for even a few days to get a sizeable wad of cash, and the police may find they are dealing with a lot of timewasters scouting for cash.

More broadly, it is the notion that the proper response to the authoritarian Islamist threat should be greater authoritarianism that leaves me cold. As others have said, is that not giving the terrorist what they want.

I always used to be a strong fan of Anne Widdecombe, and still am.
But she spoke at an event last week and I thought was losing the plot slightly.

The clarity and original thought wasn't as sharp. I'm sorry to say that.

No of course we shouldn't back 42 days.
A profoundly un British and un Conservative measure. We should be experienced enough and big enough to keep our own traditions well shored up against whatever new threats are thrown at us.
Give that up - you will have nothing left of value.

thanks to the 14 or so rebels in the conservative party the bill has passed 315- 306- everyone is having a go at the democratic unionists but they wouldn't have mattered if the 14 conservative rebels had voted with the majority of the party. I hope the lords throw it out.

25 MPs did not vote. I can understand apathy and indecisiveness in nation as a whole, but among MPs it's inexcusable.

Pisaboy - you don't need conspiracy theory to explain the case against 42 days.

Some facts about police:

1. They are human - nothing more, nothing less.
2. They have a difficult job under constant resource constraints (and a high level of petty form-filling).
3. They make mistakes - Jean Charles de Menezies being the most potent example of the tragic effect of mis-communication and a breakdown in the chain of command.
4. The nature of their job requires a concentration of power in their hands

Therefore - given the nature and function of a police service - it is essential that the public are given rights to protect themselves. One of which is the right to know why you have been detained.

42 days, like 28 days removes this right and allows for innocent people to suffer a long and uncomfortable period of detention. There are better ways to deal with the threat of terrorism than putting all your faith in draconian measures like these.

Pisaboy - you don't need conspiracy theory to explain the case against 42 days.

Some facts about police:

1. They are human - nothing more, nothing less.
2. They have a difficult job under constant resource constraints (and a high level of petty form-filling).
3. They make mistakes - Jean Charles de Menezies being the most potent example of the tragic effect of mis-communication and a breakdown in the chain of command.
4. The nature of their job requires a concentration of power in their hands

Therefore - given the nature and function of a police service - it is essential that the public are given rights to protect themselves. One of which is the right to know why you have been detained.

42 days, like 28 days removes this right and allows for innocent people to suffer a long and uncomfortable period of detention. There are better ways to deal with the threat of terrorism than putting all your faith in draconian measures like these.

I guess it's TreacheryHome from now on.

Congratulations, Tim, Magna Carta is no more.

I'll brook no complaints about the EU taking away our liberties; you've supported a measure that's done so in spades.

"I guess it's TreacheryHome from now on."

hat are we gong to call the 14 tory mps?


Its difficult typing with a broken hand ;)

Who was the Labour MP who sought to trade our historical rights for Gordon Brown's help to get sanctions eased on Cuba? Trade our ancient rights for the benefit of a totalitarian regime, who is this filth?

The day Gordon Brown uses Con Home to get support for trying to turn Britain into a tin pot Taliban like banana republic (so he can look tough and save his political skin)will be a very bad day for Con Home.

How this appalling government should be entrusted with such draconian legislation, I do not know. Why on earth does the editorship trust this government to use these powers sensibly? I do not know. Why do MPs glibly afford themselves the right to vote in favour of this bill for the sole purpose of protecting an utterly useless Prime Minister?

Our ancestors have paid, time and time again, often with their lives, to protect our cherished freedoms, and yet a government with not a shred of credibility; not an iota of decency; and still less competence is allowed and IS CHAMPIONED to take a despicable retrograde step such as this.

What ARE those people thinking? It is truly a shaming moment in the history of, not only our 'liberal' democracy, but ALL liberal democracies.

The evidence is non-existent, the concessions were pathetic, the legislation made exponentially worse by each compromise, and the outcome is one of rank political expediency. This government and this Prime Minister survives to do us more damage.

The Lords will now do what they do best - with a level-headed, measured and reasonable approach, vote this abhorrent bill down and return it to the Commons.

What 14 Tory MP's?

I am see the figure of over a billion being quoted as the financial cost for saving Gordon Brown and the government from defeat on this.
I thought our civil liberties were priceless, obviously not.
But still, when we lock someone up or invade another country we can claim the moral high ground of the true democracy of a dictatorship.
And then we have on this very day the government having to launch an enquiry into highly sensitive security documents on Al Qaeda and Iraq left in an envelope on a train!
The Beeb now knows as much as the government on this issue.
And they want us to trust them with detaining people without charge for 42 days or our information on a data base for ID cards.....

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