Monday, June 04, 2007

Political rights will continue to dwindle under Gordon Brown as Prime Minister

Gordon Brown Plans New Anti-Terror Laws


LONDON (AP) - Britain's incoming leader Gordon Brown will unveil a raft of new hardline anti-terrorism measures when he replaces Prime Minister Tony Blair later this month, British newspapers reported Sunday.

The Sunday Times and The Observer both carried detailed outlines of proposals that they say Treasury chief Brown will make public this week.

In 2005, British lawmakers rejected the government's bid to allow police to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 90 days, forcing it to accept a compromise of 28 days. But Brown will seek to revive the proposals, the papers said.

He will also call for judges to have greater powers to punish terrorism by making it an aggravating factor in sentencing, and will call for a review of laws banning the use of phone tap evidence in court.

The security services have long resisted calls for intercept intelligence to be used as evidence, saying it give could terrorists an insight into their methods.

The Sunday Telegraph said that Brown would promise at all stages to give the courts and Parliament "greater oversight" over his proposed counter-terror measures, following clashes between government and opposition groups including the judiciary and civil liberty groups.

"We must maintain a commitment to liberty, British traditions and the British way of life," the paper quoted an unnamed Brown source as saying.

At a meeting with members of his Labour Party in Scotland on Saturday, Brown gave an indication that he is seeking changes to the country's anti-terrorism laws.

"We must be vigilant for the benefit of security in this country," he said. "Anti-terror must be more sophisticated, with earlier intervention. That is why I support an increase in the length of detention to build up evidence across nations and I support post-charge questioning with an increase in police resources."

Any moves by Brown to strengthen the terrorism laws are likely to be met by the same tough opposition that Blair had.

Blair suffered his first major domestic defeat in 2005 when lawmakers, including members of his Labour Party, rejected his plan to allow police to hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without charging them with an offense. The government also has been constantly overruled by the judiciary in its attempts to deport foreign nationals it suspects of being engaged in extremist activities.

Last week Blair launched an attack on against opponents of the government's approach to anti-terrorism, saying that they imperiled Britain's safety by putting civil liberties ahead of Britain's security.

Original article posted here.

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