In the light of the time left, you will be delighted to know, Mr Deputy Speaker, that rather like the last Government in their dying days, I have adopted a policy of slash and burn to the speech that I was going to make.
If the counter-terrorism review states that the limit should be reduced, I and this Government would support that. I would personally welcome a move towards liberty and away from the Big Brother state that grew up under the last Government. Having listened to the debate today, I am afraid the matter is not as simple as saying that the limit should be 90 days, 40 days, 28 days, 14 days or 2 days, as in Australia. Maybe 14 days is the correct amount of time, but what about extreme, complicated or international cases? For me, any decision taken before the review would by definition be arrogant, hasty and uncalled-for.
Consultations and reviews are not simply box-ticking exercises, although they often had a habit of becoming so under the last Government. They are there for a reason. There are big decisions that need grown-up, thought through answers, and they need decisions in this House that result in laws that do not need to come back to the House constantly to be amended, fixed and adjusted. Earlier, the question was asked, "Why do we not just say 14 days?" For me, that is precisely the point. The Government are trying to search for the best results, not just the best headlines. That is why we do not just say 14 days.
Sometimes, like good tea, good whisky and good coffee, good laws take a little bit of time to produce. An extra six months is not perfect, but nor is it permanent, and it is purposeful. Within that time, the counter-terrorism review will have published its opinion, taking into account the issues that have been debated this afternoon such as encryption, the complexity of some extreme cases and how to avoid the abuse of powers. I, for one, look forward to voting then for a good, well thought through and well worked out law that is based on what is best for the country and for the people of Britain.
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