» Wednesday, November 7, 2007

56 Days

Asked if the Government was still hopeful that it would get the 56 days preferred option, the PMS said that 56 days was not the preferred option, the preferred option was to consult on an extension up to the maximum of 56 days.

Asked if the Government would be quite happy with less, the PMS said that we would want to consult and seek a consensus on an extension of up to 56 days. It was important to emphasise that the other aspect of the proposal in July was to introduce much tighter judicial and Parliamentary oversight for any potential detention beyond 28 days and that was a key part of the proposal.

Asked if the Legislation would include a specific figure, the PMS said that would be expected but that that was only one part of the proposal and an important part of the proposal was also the extra measures in relation to judicial and Parliamentary oversight.

Asked about the argument that post-charge questioning removed the need for detention, the PMS said that it was not just the Government that didn’t necessarily think post-charge questioning was sufficient; the Home Affairs Select Committee reached that conclusion as well.

Asked if the figure of 56 was there for any reason other than it was double 28, the PMS said it was always up to 56; in a sense 56 was the maximum of the maximum. Jacqui Smith said this morning that we would expect there to be maximum limit. Obviously there would need to be a discussion and a consensus needed to be found regarding exactly what the right number should be; there needed to be a maximum limit and in terms of initiating the consultation in July, we said that that maximum limit would be up to 56 days.

Asked what could be done to change the Opposition’s view on this, the PMS said we should wait and see; there had been discussions with the opposition parties and he was sure that there would be discussions in the period ahead, but it was the Government’s intention to try to find a consensus. The Home Office set out the evidence in the consultation document in July and as he had said before, there had been discussions and he was sure there would be further discussions.

Asked how the figure was determined and put repeatedly that it would have to come from the Government, the PMS said that there would have to be discussions; an initial range was already out there and we were consulting at the moment on a figure within that range. At some point a figure would have to go onto the face of the Bill and there would have to be a vote in Parliament. It was the Government’s intention to find a solution to this that was consensual. The process of discussion was ongoing and had not concluded yet.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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