Brown seeks 42-day compromise

A compromise proposal designed to pass Gordon Brown’s 42-day detention plans through the Commons is making it way around Westminster, according to government sources.

The proposals involve new safeguards whereby extensions to the current 28-day detention limit would require parliamentary approval and a ‘yes’ vote in the Commons and the Lords.

Concessions have already been made ensuring the powers are only activated after a chief constable and the director of public prosecutions agree there is an “exceptional operational need”.

New concessions will probably will reduce the time required for parliamentary approval of the extension from 30 days to somewhere between seven and ten.

Geoff Hoon, chief whip, and Jacqui Smith, home secretary, are said to be negotiating on the basis of the concessions with some of the 50 backbench Labour MPs planning on opposing the legislation.

The concessions indicate how desperate Mr Brown is to resist a losing vote on the issue.

Following this morning’s devastating by-election result in Crewe and Nantwich, the prime minister can ill-afford any further erosion of his authority.