42 days later

June 4th, 2008 § 0 comments

The Guardian

[Jacqui] Smith tabled a series of concessions yesterday which ministers were keen to portray as significant without appearing politically weak.

The amendments were intended to improve parliamentary scrutiny by requiring the home secretary to report to parliament within a week of taking the power to detain beyond 28 days. The power is also to be up for renewal every 30 days instead of every 60.

In the most contested amendment, to go beyond 28 days the home secretary would be required to have received independent legal advice that the country faced an event or situation that amounted to “a grave exceptional terrorist threat”.

The home secretary would also have to tell MPs that such a threat had occurred or was occurring.

The Home Office claimed this significantly raised the threshold and was equivalent to the phraseology in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 on emergencies.

If the threat is that serious, then why not use the Civil Contingncies Act 2004? Because frankly, the ‘Trust me, I’m a Home Secretary’ concession doesn’t wash.

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