British MPs approve hotly debated terror billposted on June 15, 2008 | in Category International | PermaLink
Source: The Globe and Mail
Date: June 12, 2008
LONDON -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown escaped defeat by a hair's breadth in a packed House of Commons yesterday over controversial plans to allow police to detain suspected terrorists for as long as 42 days without charge.
Backing for the Counter-Terrorism Bill, which the government had said was necessary to deal with the increasing complexity and ruthlessness of terrorist plots, will come as some measure of relief to the embattled leader, who has suffered a series of blows in recent months.
Mr. Brown's authority, however, remains in question after he was forced to go into persuasion overdrive and ultimately rely on the support of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to ensure victory, with the final count at 315 to 306.
With several Labour backbenchers threatening to defy the government over what they saw as an infringement of civil liberties, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith had announced a number of amendments in the lead-up to the vote. They included the requirement for an "exceptional and grave" terrorist threat, and parliamentary authorization within seven days of an application.
[ Read the rest ... ]