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Blair plays the bully on terror

Jim Jepps

MPs have tonight voted down a series of amendments that the Lords had demanded in the new anti-terror legislation in order to protect civil liberties.

These amendments included

  • All control orders should be issued by a judge, not the home secretary

  • Standard of proof for control order rises from "reasonable grounds" for suspicion, to satisfaction on the "balance of probabilities"

  • Director of Public Prosecutions must state there is no reasonable prospect of successful prosecution before order is made

  • Use of evidence against terror suspects obtained under torture abroad prohibited

  • No additional forms of control order can be created

  • The legislation will expire on 30 November 2005

Blair said "The Conservative Party - and even people on my own side - should stop trying to water this legislation down, dilute its effect, and understand it is necessary, it is right, to protect the civil liberties of the vast majority of people in this country who want to be protected against terrorism." Blair is desperate to protect his political prestige in the run up to the election.

On Monday the existing powers run out and the legislation is being rushed through partly in order to ensure they cannot be released, despite the fact that no charges nor proof of wrong doing has ever been brought before them.

Blair's track record on honesty, fighting terrorism and acting within the law is now utterly tarnished. Where were the Labour rebels who brought this legislation so close to its downfall last time it went to the house - protecting their majorities at the expense of our liberties?

 

March 2005

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