28/02/2005

Clarke makes concession on anti-terror laws

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has agreed to allow judges to make the decision on the issue of control orders during a Commons debate on the government's Prevention of Terrorism Bill.

The government had previously proposed that the Home Secretary should be able to issue control orders, which would enable the government to place terror suspects under house arrest. However, the plans met with strong condemnation from both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, as well as civil rights groups and several Labour MPs.

The new legislation was developed, following a ruling by the House of Lords, which stated that it was illegal to detain foreign terror suspects without trial. However, opponents of the Bill argued that a government minister should not have the responsibility of issuing control orders and that only a judge should be able to make that decision.

Opposition MPs have also called on the government to allow more time for the Bill to be debated.

(KMcA/SP)

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