Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:10 pm on 26th October 2005.

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Photo of Mark Oaten Mark Oaten Shadow Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Home Affairs 3:10 pm, 26th October 2005

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me the opportunity to give him a direct answer. We do not believe that there is a case for moving beyond 14 days. When we discuss how we move forward on the matter, we should not have some kind of auction for 90, 60 or 28 days. We wish to persuade the Government that there are alternative approaches that suggest that we do not need to go beyond 14 days.

We have been cautious about the number of days for which a person may be held for decades. The police have the automatic power to hold individuals for 48 hours, with a possible time extension of up to four days for serious cases such as murder. A complex murder case is allowed a time extension from 48 hours to just four days. Of course, provisions passed in 2003 extended the time limit for terrorism cases from seven to 14 days. We have rightly trodden carefully when changing the time limits. The history of the changes shows that we have been cautious, which is why it is remarkable that it is suggested that we could suddenly smash that approach apart under the Bill and move to a 90-day period.