Opinion Former Article

Unlock Democracy: Government has no mandate for detention without charge plans

On the eve of the House of Commons' crucial third reading debate of the Counter Terrorism Bill, Unlock Democracy is urging MPs to reject the government's plans to extend detention without charge to 42 days.

Director of Unlock Democracy Peter Facey said:

"The government entered into this round of counter-terrorism legislation promising to listen and attempt to build consensus. They have persisted in going ahead, despite cross-party opposition, condemnation from the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, the Commission of Equality and Human Rights and other human rights groups and only lukewarm support from the security services. This looks more like populist posturing from an increasingly desperate government than a responsible security measure.

"Regardless of the relative merits of both sides of the debate, to press ahead with something as constitutionally significant as this without cross-party support is willfully irresponsible. We should not forget that these proposals were not in Labour's 2005 manifesto and the party only got 35% of the popular vote. Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith have no moral right to proceed with this. The fact that they are free to do so anyway shows how ineffectual our constitution really is."

ENDS

1. Unlock Democracy, incorporating Charter 88 is the UK's leading campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms.

2. For more information, a quote or an interview, please contact James Graham on 020 7278 4443 / 07966 237550 / james.graham@unlockdemocracy.org.uk.">

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