UK Home Secretary under pressure to reveal legal advice on anti-terror laws

[JURIST] United Kingdom Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile] continues to be pressed for information on the advice given by Attorney General Lord Goldsmith [official profile] regarding the proposed new anti-terror laws [JURIST document] after Clarke had to apologize Thursday for telling MPs that he already had Lord Goldsmith's approval on a provision allowing the detentions of uncharged terror suspects for up to 90 days. During a heated debate [JURIST report] in the House of Commons [official website] Wednesday, Clarke told MPs on three occasions that the Attorney General said the proposed provisions would comply with Great Britain's human rights obligations. But on Thursday, Clarke stood before the Commons and admitted [debate transcript]:

I should clarify that the clear legal advice I received as to the Bill's [European Convention on Human Rights] compliance . . . did not come from the Attorney personally. Further, in making that statement, I inadvertently breached the long-standing convention that the fact that the law officers have or have not advised on any matter - long-standing over many governments - and the content of their advice should not be disclosed. And for breaching that long-standing convention I want to apologise to the House.
MPs are demanding that Lord Goldsmith's thoughts on the proposed bill be made public prior to discussions set to take place this weekend that will focus on the highly-debated detention provision. The UK Press Association has local coverage.


 

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