» Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Counter Terrorism Bill

Asked if the Prime Minister’s comments at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) meant that there would be no major concessions to the Counter Terrorism Bill, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that the Prime Minister had been clear at PMQs and that he had also been clear last week. There was a strong case for moving beyond 28 days and there certainly seemed to be a growing consensus that there was a need to put in place legislation on a precautionary basis, which would enable suspects to be held for more than 28 days and the debate now was now simply about the safeguards that you put in place. It was the Government’s view that we thought declaring a state of emergency in order to hold one individual for more than 28 days could be a bit excessive, so that was why we were trying to find alternative safeguards to deal with the situation should it arise.

Asked if there could be a situation whereby this legislation, once passed, would be subject to Parliamentary resolution from both Houses, the PMS said that the Government’s proposal had been set out by the Home Secretary back in November and that that remained the Government’s position. The key thing was that, in the view of the Prime Minister and the Government, the differences between the various participants in this debate were not as great as was sometimes suggested. There seemed to be a general acceptance, in principal, of the need to detain people beyond 28 days and it was simply a question of finding the right mechanism and safeguards in order to enable that to happen.

Asked if there would be any last minute tinkering with the proposal before it reached the vote, the PMS said that he could see where the journalist was trying to lead him and that the position was the same as Home Secretary had made last November.

Asked about a proposal regarding tagging which has been written about in the Sunday Times, the PMS said that this proposal had never been put to the Prime Minister and his understanding was that it had never been put in any serious way to the Home Secretary either.

Asked where it had come from, the PMS replied that it appeared to have been a background document produced by the Home Office.

original source.

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

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