John Reid denies return to 90-day detention - although he admits he still supports it

Ministers deny return to 90-day detention

Ministers deny return to 90-day detention

The home secretary has denied suggestions that he will try once again to introduce 90-day detention for terror suspects following last week’s alleged terror plot.

John Reid said it was not a “good time” to divert energy into trying to force through the measure, which was rejected in the Commons last year.

But he made clear that he personally supported the idea of allowing police 90 days to question terror suspects before they had to charge or release them.

And he said he believed last week’s revelation of the alleged plot to blow up several transatlantic flights proved the dangers of not giving the security services what they needed.

“It is not always a good idea at this time to start talking about introducing measures and trying to use this context to introduce measures,” Mr Reid told BBC News 24 yesterday.

“Having said that, I think people know my view on this, and that is, that this is what the police said they required.

“The awful, terrible consequences of knowing in terms of information and knowledge that something may happen and not being able to intervene early enough and detain suspects long enough.the awful consequences of that now should be apparent to everyone.”

The government suffered its first Commons defeat last autumn when it tried to push through the 90-day detention limit, with 49 Labour MPs rebelling against what they warned was an attempt to introduce internment.

A compromise of 28 days was reached, and came into force as part of the Terrorism Act 2006 three weeks ago, and yesterday shadow home secretary David Davis said he did not see why this limit should be extended further.

“Obviously we would support any measure to curb terrorism. We are not blind. But this move is not appropriate,” he said.

“So far there has been no need to detain anybody for 28 days and can you imagine the backlash if someone is detained for 90 days and then released without any charges in the current climate in the Muslim community?”

Two weeks ago, the joint committee on human rights warned against any further extension of the pre-charge detention time, saying that measures could be introduced – such as post-charge interviews – that would make it unnecessary.