December 6, 2007


Can Gordon Brown chart way out of mutiny? (Philip Johnson, 07/12/2007, Daily Telegraph)

When Jacqui Smith produced a flow chart yesterday to explain how her proposed new counter-terrorism law would work you sensed that the Government was in deep trouble.

It was intended to be helpful; but it graphically illustrated the Home Secretary's predicament.

So many safeguards, locks and caveats had been applied that it looked like a wiring diagram for a jet engine.

It had been clear for weeks that the Government was failing to persuade MPs to support a longer period of detention of terrorist suspects without charge.

Gordon Brown came to office in the summer pledged to going beyond the existing

28-day upper limit. He said terrorism plots were becoming more complex and the police might need longer to interrogate suspects.

He also scented the opportunity to wrong-foot the Tories and impose his authority on his own party while burnishing his anti-terrorism credentials. But it began to go wrong when few supporters could be found, apart from some police chiefs who, arguably, are always seeking more powers.

Thus the issue is handed back to the Tories, though it's doubtful they're savvy enough to accept it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 6, 2007 8:55 PM
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