42 days under fire from the Lords and the masses

It seems that the “people want 42 days pre-charge detention” argument may have been punctured somewhat by the Rowntree Reform Trust’s survey, released today, showing 60% against 42 days.

Sky News kindly reprinted the poll results: ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1021 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 4-6 July 2008 and asked:

How long do you think people who may be innocent or guilty of a terrorist offence should be held in detention for questioning before they are charged or released?
 
The results were as follows:

Up to four days 6%
Up to one week 10%
Up to two weeks 13%
Up to four weeks 32%
Up to six weeks 36%

Meanwhile the Counter-terrorism Bill came up against learned opposition in the Lords yesterday.

Lady Manningham-Buller – the former head of MI5 – used her maiden speech to the House of Lords yesterday to join the growing chorus of oppnents, telling peers: "On a matter of principle, I cannot support 42 days pre-charge detention.

"I do understand different views and that there are judgements honestly reached by others and I respect these views. But I don't see on a practical basis, as well as a principled one, that these proposals are workable."

Former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said he would also vote against it.
"42 days will undermine the fundamental freedoms on which this country is based." Lord Falconer also piled in.

We’ve argued from the off that this measure will significantly undermine basic human rights in the UK. Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan spells out in a Comment is Free piece today  why the UK civil liberties debate is important on a global scale.

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