Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Lords will not pass the 42-day terror bill says Laird

A veteran Ulster peer said he will be “staggered” if a controversial proposal to extend detention plans to 42 days passes through the House of Lords today.

The proposal to increase the pre-charge custody time for suspected terrorists from 28 days to 42 is to be voted on in the Lords today.

And Lord Laird, who has voiced his total opposition to the plan, said he believed his fellow peers will move to reject it.

The Government has argued that extending the detention limit for terrorist suspects is necessary to foil complex plots.

The proposal to extend the length of time the authorities can hold a suspect passed through the House of Commons earlier this year — but only just.

The measure was passed by just nine votes, with crucial support from the DUP’s nine MPs.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Lord Laird accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown of trying to be “macho” by pushing the bill through.

But he warned Mr Brown he “can go and be macho somewhere else”.

The Ulster Unionist peer said: “I am totally against this for a number of reasons. I don’t see why we should be allowed to lock people up for an unnecessarily long period of time without giving them information on what they have been locked up for.

“I have spoken to many people in London about this ranging from senior security staff to the former Attorney General and to the head of MI5 and all of them are totally opposed to this 42-day detention... This is an issue about human rights and I would be staggered if it goes through.”

The extension is contained in the Counter-Terrorism Bill.

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