UK govt offers concessions to save terror bill
LONDON: Britain’s interior minister Charles Clarke offered fresh concessions on Wednesday to save his government’s anti-terrorism bill from withering attacks in both houses of parliament.
The drive to win support has been especially hard on the government, because for every challenge mounted in parliament, rebels from the ruling Labour party have sided with the opposition Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Clarke said that, under the proposed changes, a judge would review every measure used to keep close watch on terror suspects, or restrict their access to communications or limit their movements.
The home secretary also said the bill, once adopted, should be reviewed annually by parliament, but he rejected demands for a “sunset clause” which would see the Prevention of Terrorism Bill expire at the end of November.
“I am proposing amendments to that effect to the House of Commons this afternoon,” Clarke told the BBC. “There was a lot of argument both in the Commons and the Lords that it was right to have an application to judge at the centre of all control orders,” Clarke said. The bill initially gave the home secretary the right to authorise “control orders” ranging from electronic tagging, curfews and bans on phone and Internet use, to full house arrest. afp