UK Home Secretary accepts blame for defeat of anti-terror detention provision

[JURIST] UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] is taking the blame for a defeat [JURIST report] Wednesday in the UK House of Commons [official website] of a key provision of the British government's proposed Terrorism Bill [text] that would have authorized the detention of terror suspects without charge for up to 90 days. In an interview [recorded audio] with BBC Radio Thursday, Clarke said Prime Minister Tony Blair ultimately gave him the authority to decide whether to push for the 90-day detention period or accept a compromise for a shorter period noting, "Now, at the end, my judgment turned out to be incorrect and we lost the vote." Clarke admitted damage to his authority based on this individual vote, but denied that he and Blair will face roadblocks on broader issues, instead saying that the provision was rejected by civil libertarians and "ne'er do wells" who automatically choose to vote against the government. MPs decided instead to amend the anti-terrorism bill [revised text] to allow the detention of terror suspects for up to 28 days without charge. Amnesty International UK [advocacy website], meanwhile, slammed the 28-day detention term [Amnesty press release], an increase over the currently-authorized 14-day period, saying it is "a sad day when Britain’s three major political parties are publicly bartering over people’s liberty." AFP has more.

 

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