Orders of the Day — Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:34 pm on 26th October 2005.

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Photo of Tony Lloyd Tony Lloyd Labour, Manchester Central 3:34 pm, 26th October 2005

My hon. Friend helps me in the case that I am presenting. We need an intelligent debate and we need to consider whether the present structures are appropriate. The case has not been made for the legitimacy of the leap from 14 to 90-day detention for the police to interrogate suspects and obtain evidence. Therefore, I, like many hon. Members, share the concerns, and I hope that we will see a robust debate in Committee and during further proceedings on the Bill as we examine where the proper balance and test should come.

The question of glorification troubles me every bit as much as the 90-day period. It is easy to dismiss this by asking, "Are we not all against those who advocate the killing and maiming of others?" But I want to remind the House that, as my right hon. Friend Mr. Denham said earlier, many of us have lived through periods in our political lives when we have not simply sought to explain but actively advocated the concept of armed force as a legitimate defence. I met someone in Guatemala many years ago who told me how, under the military Government at the time, he saw his father taken off a bus and told to hold his hands out, whereupon they were systematically macheted off, salami style, by members of the armed forces. That was a particularly brutal crime, and at the time it was a particularly brutal way of persuading me that it was legitimate to defend the ordinary peasants of Guatemala by recourse to the force of arms. I cannot run away from that view these years later simply because that country is now, happily, at peace. My hon. Friend Rob Marris referred to the situation in Burma today, which, ironically and tragically, is parallel to that in Guatemala.