A poll in today’s Telegraph suggests 65 per cent of the electorate supports an extension of pre-trial detention for terrorist suspects to 42 days. The only surprising thing about that figure is how low it is.
I spoke to a Tory frontbencher last week, who effectively admitted that in government his party would be far more likely to support this kind of measure, on the basis that a government’s first duty is protection of the country’s citizens, whereas the duty of the opposition… isn’t, really. Pretty shameful attitude. Labour, in the years BT*, voted regularly against the annual renewal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Only under Tony did we come to our senses and realise that only parties which take security seriously in opposition can be trusted with government.
The same is true today. The 42 days clause should be supported, not because it’s popular (though it is) but because it will help protect people. If the Tories understand this but oppose it for party political reasons, then they are not fit to govern.
* Before Tony