Monday, October 13, 2008

UK government's terror bill defeated

The House of Lords has rejected the British government’s proposal to extend the length of time terror suspects may be held. There were 309 to 118 votes against the bill. Jon Craig, Sky’s political correspondent, described it as a “crushing humiliation for the government”. The government had wanted to extend the time that suspects could be held from 28 day to 42 days. But there has been strong opposition from both opposition parties. Earlier this year David Davis, the then Shadow Home Secretary, resigned his post to fight a bi-election on the issue.
In the House of Lords, Lord Dear has called ministers' plan "shabby" and "flawed". Speaking in the house today he said, "This attempt to appear tough on terrorism, I believe, is a shabby charade which is unworthy of a democratic process and we should reject it." But Liberal Democrat Lord Carlile, the official reviewer of terror laws, said it was an "appropriate" attempt to save lives. The House of Commons backed the extension in terror detentions by just nine votes in June, with 36 Labour MPs rebelling against the government [BBC].

In another development in the investigation into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, it has been revealed that a Special Branch officer changed evidence during the original inquest. The Special Branch officer, named as Owen, said he deleted a line from computer notes which quoted Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would investigate. Brazilian Mr de Menezes, 27, was killed by police who mistook him for one of the failed 21 July 2005 bombers [BBC].

Outside parliament there was an unrelated demonstration which had attempted to breach security. Hundreds of people had gathered to protest against climate change and airport expansion. A number of arrests were made but there was no breach in security according to police.

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