Law and principle are lost in the crazy politics of 42 days
Friday June 6 2008
Who would be a Labour MP this week? After brutal whipping and endless spin about “toughing it out” while “offering concessions”, it still boils down to this. Is it right, or necessary, or productive to our safety, to detain a suspected person for six weeks without charge – without knowing what they are accused of?
Some view this as a trial of political machismo. Liberty does not. Political parties play a part in democracy, but I respect the conscience, courage and conviction of individual parliamentarians more. I will always regret the crazy politics that “42 days” has become and our inability – despite endless efforts – to persuade the Brown government towards a break with the recent past.
Liberty colleagues have had discussions with Labour MPs who have been thoughtful in their engagement. My confidence is such that I believe on a free vote in the Commons, the 42-day measure would be easily defeated. But at the fag end of the misnamed, misjudged “war on terror”, abortion time limits are left to the conscience and detention time limits are not. The margin will be tight.
See also, 13 June 2008: here.