» Friday, May 16, 2008

42 Days

Asked if it was the case that the Prime Minister had changed his mind and would actually prefer not to lose the vote, the PMS said it was the Prime Minister’s view and the Home Secretary’s view that there could be no question on any compromise over 42 days. They were both strongly of the view that it was necessary to put in place legislation on a precautionary basis, to enable terror suspects to be held for more than the current 28-day limit.

This was the right thing to do to protect the public and it reflected the increasing complexity of terror trials. As the Prime Minister himself had said, there was a consensus that it may be necessary to hold individuals beyond 28 days, but the debate was about exactly what mechanisms were in place, to enable you to do that.

The Government had published its very detailed proposals on what the specific judicial and parliamentary mechanisms might be and that’s what was currently being considered by Parliament.

Asked repeatedly if the package from last November was still the package that was going to be voted on or was there going to be changes, the PMS replied that the package that was on the table was the package that was on the table. The key issue for the Prime Minister was that we did introduce legislation that enabled people to be held if necessary beyond 28 days.

Asked if he recognised the specific suggestions in the Guardian, such as bringing down the period of parliamentary oversight, the PMS said he did not want to get into specifics. The Government had put forward its proposals and these were now being considered by Parliament and in due course would be voted on by Parliament. The key point from our point of view was that we did think there was a consensus on the need to hold people beyond 28 days and we thought the differences between the various parties was much less than was sometimes made out to be.

Put that there had been a suggestion that the extension from 28 days to 42 days would involve tagging or a bail system, the PMS replied that we had made clear at the time that that was not a proposal that had ever been considered in any serious way by the Home Secretary.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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