Counter-Terrorism Bill — No extension of period of detention beyond 28 days — 13 Oct 2008 at 18:35
The majority of the House of Lords voted to prevent this Bill from being used to extend the period of pre-charge detention (the period in which the police are allowed to detain an individual without informing them of the crime they are suspected of) to 42 days.
- For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this Act allows the Secretary of State to extend the maximum period of pre-charge detention beyond 28 days.
This contradicted (and rendered void) the enactments added to this Bill for enabling these powers, voted through in the Commons four months before, which included numerous stages of procedure and safeguards before they could be applied.
Following this defeat of the Government's policy, the Home Secretary stated to Parliament
- We face a terrorist threat that is at the "severe end of severe", and we have proposed in this counter-terror Bill a way in which the police and prosecutors could apply to a judge to enable them to continue an investigation of a terrorist suspect in the most difficult, most complex and most challenging of circumstances. This House has voted in favour of a reserve power... [But the House of Lords] has tonight voted to remove from the Counter-Terrorism Bill the protections that the Government believe should be in place --not to amend, not to strengthen, simply to remove
- I have prepared a new Bill to enable the police and prosecutors to do their work -- should the worst happen, and should a terrorist plot overtake us and threaten our current investigatory capabilities. Some may take the security of Britain lightly. I do not. The Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill now stands ready to be introduced if and when the need arises. It would enable the Director of Public Prosecutions to apply to the courts to detain and question a terrorist suspect for up to a maximum of 42 days. Individuals could be detained only when that was authorised by a judge. The Bill's powers would sunset automatically after 60 days. I will place a copy of the new Bill in the Library of the House.
To be clear: the Government has conceded that it cannot pass this particular emergency powers legislation at this time, while politicians are too cool-headed, in spite of assertions that the terrorist threat is so very extremely severe. However, they have promised to have some legislation on stand-by ready to be slipped through Parliament at an opportune and heated moment when there is no political will to resist it.
Such moments have occurred in the past, for example in the aftermath of 9/11 when MPs voted to declare a public emergency threatening the life of the nation, which stood in place for three years to allow all kinds of emergency powers to be in force.
-  Lord Dear, House of Lords, 13 October 2008
-  Counter-Terrorism Bill, House of Lords, 13 June 2008
-  Extension of period of detention to 42 days - Process, House of Commons Division, 11 June 2008
-  Jacqui Smith MP, House of Commons, 13 October 2008
-  Public emergency threatening the life of the nation - approved, House of Commons, 21 November 2001
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Content)||Minority (Not-Content)||Turnout|
|Con||143 (+1 tell)||1||72.1%|
|Crossbench||76 (+1 tell)||6||43.7%|
|Lab||23||104 (+2 tell)||60.3%|