Terror law to allow 42-day detention opposed by MPs

The government is unveiling a major new package of a counter-terrorism laws, a plan that gives the right to detain terrorist suspects for upto 42 days without charge. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is understood to have outlined concessions and appealed to MPs not to inflict further damage on the Government after a series of election disasters and policy U-turns. Under long-awaited changes to the Counter-Terrorism Bill, Home Secretary Miss Smith revealed the power to detain suspects without charge would only be used in the face of a “grave, exceptional terrorist threat” to Britain. This includes the most serious offences, such as murder and conspiracy to cause explosions, but excludes lesser offences such as weapons training or terrorist financing. The threat includes situations which “cause or threaten” serious loss of life, serious damage to human welfare in the UK or serious damage to national security. The threat can exist inside or outside the UK. The 42-day detention proposal has been criticised by not only backbench Labour MPs, but also the director of public prosecutions and the former attorney general Lord Goldsmith who warned the move would be an attack on the country’s “fundamental freedoms”. Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, a Labour loyalist described the 42-day detention without charge will further alienate young British Muslims. Lord Ahmed criticised the Government over a U-turn on the 10p tax, on super-casino and fuel duty. Introducing this horrific measure only shows Governments intention to punish the Muslim community, he added. Sayeed Azad reports.