56 minus 14 equals 42 and 28 plus 14 equals 42

Yes, they’re at it again.

Jaqui Smith wants another fourteen days to hold terror suspects, on top of the twenty four currently permitted.

Ho-hum.

Is this a distraction from the party funding crisis, I wonder?

Given past mistakes – like the candour of Lord West, the security minister, who admitted he did not perceive a need for an extension, and the inability of Smith to demonstrate that the 28 day period had been insufficient – I expected talk of terror detention extension to fade away for the time being.

Perhaps it is an act of suicide by New Labour. Smith looks pretty depressed, and it’s hardly surprising, though she tries to smile through the lies…

A Home Office document published by Ms Smith on Thursday asserted that there was a “clear case” for going beyond 28 days, but it failed to back this claim with evidence.

In a desperate bid to win over critics, she sought to sweeten the bitter pill with “safeguards,” which campaigners dismissed as “parliamentary window dressing.”

The new proposals will give the Home Secretary powers to set a 42-day limit, Ms Smith said, adding: “To emphasise that the high limit is exceptional, it must be approved by Parliament within 30 days.”

However, the way that the mechanism works means that a terror suspect could be held for the maximum 42 days even if Parliament eventually rejects the Home Office’s application.

Senior Labour backbencher David Winnick, who led opposition to the earlier proposal for 90-day detention, said that it was “unfortunate” that ministers had returned to an issue which would simply divide MPs and peers.

“No evidence has been produced in my view – and in the view of a good number of other people – that any extension is necessary,” he argued.

(from The Morning Star)

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