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New Clause 45 — Limit on Period of Detention Without Charge of Suspected Terrorists

Part of Criminal Justice Bill — [3rd Alloted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:15 pm on 20th May 2003.

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Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Chair, Constitutional Affairs Committee 6:15 pm, 20th May 2003

That certainly helps our understanding. However, I am concerned about the Minister's argument that using the procedure might stop a major incident. That is a powerful argument, but in such circumstances, the people taken into custody are unlikely to proceed if it had been their intention to do so, because their cover has been blown. When it becomes possible to link them to others, the operation would almost certainly change and others would be drawn into it. If it were believed that they were preparing to commit an offence themselves, they could be pursued on the basis of a criminal charge and the matter could be taken further in that way. The idea that taking such people into custody will not disturb an organisation's plans seems rather confused.