In a normal world, having a cross-party groups of experts examine a policy and come up with major criticisms would be reason enough for the government to change course, but I fear that’s not going to happen … for as the BBC reports today:
The government has still not done enough to protect individual liberty in its anti-terror plans, an influential committee of MPs and peers says.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith unveiled a series of amendments earlier this week aimed at heading off a Commons defeat.
But in a new report the joint committee on human rights said the safeguards were “inadequate”.
And plans to hold terror suspects for up to six weeks without charge would “almost certainly not be lawful”…
Committee chairman Labour MP Andrew Dismore said: “The government has talked of a major emergency, the ‘nightmare scenario’ of simultaneous plots across Britain or two 9/11s at once.
“Yet the amendments tabled by the government provide for possible events falling well short of that.”
The report also said requiring the home secretary to declare publicly there was a serious enough emergency to justify the powers was not much of a safeguard without independent scrutiny.
And allowing Parliament to vote on the individual case within seven days – another concession – would make little difference as any debate would be “heavily circumscribed by the risk of prejudicing future trials”.