42 Days Detention Bill thrown out (From the archives)

October 15, 2008

I have been very concerned in recent years about the way in which the Government has ignored the rights of citizens and created a number of big brother style measures in the regulation of investigatory powers, thus giving the Royal Parks police and others the right to intercept private emails.

In the Legislation and Regulatory Reform Bill they tried to go further and give ministers the power to change Acts of Parliament by government order. And we all know about their plans to have spies in every bin to investigate “dust-bin crime”.

I was very alarmed by their idea that innocent individuals might be locked up for 42 days without charge.

All too often the House of Lords has had to intervene to protect our liberties. My colleague David Davies was so alarmed that he even fought a by-election on the issue. I was delighted that the Government was defeated on 42 days and has backed down but they should have listened before and it really was extraordinary that former Labour Lord Chancellors, a former attorney general as well as two former heads of MI5 voted against the Governments proposals, and that they lost by a wapping 191 votes in the House of Lords – one of the worst ever Government defeats.