1997 Onwards -
Below is the text of Sir John Major’s article on 42-
SIR JOHN MAJOR:
The Government's legislation to permit 42 days pre-
The invasion of Iraq was justified by overegging the threat of Saddam Hussein's non-
But the case for war was embellished by linking the Iraqi regime to the 9/11 attacks on New York -
These actions damaged our reputation overseas. And, at home -
We now know that, despite repeated denials, our Government was complicit in rendition, or -
Although the intention was presumably to garner information, such action is hardly in the spirit of the nation that gave the world Magna Carta, or the Parliament that gave it habeas corpus.
I don't believe that sacrifice of due process can be justified. If we are seen to defend our own values in a manner that does violence to them, then we run the risk of losing those values. Even worse, if our own standards fall, it will serve to recruit terrorists more effectively than their own propaganda could ever hope to.
That is no longer theoretical: we now have home-
The Government has introduced measures to protect against terrorism. These go beyond anything contemplated when Britain faced far more regular -
After terrorist attacks on London, Parliament doubled the time that suspects could be held without charge from 14 days to 28 days. Probably, that was justified. But soon Parliament will be asked to increase detention without charge to 42 days. To appease opposition, the Government is cobbling together face-
There is no proof that an extended period of 42 days would have prevented past atrocities. There is no evidence it will prevent future atrocities. No example has yet been given of why the police need more than 28 days to frame a charge. This is a slippery slope. Assertions that it “might be useful” simply will not do. If we are to curtail the liberty of the individual, we must have more certainty than that.
But it is not only the case for 42 days detention that is bogus. So is the case for identity cards. They were to be voluntary. Now it is clear that they will be compulsory. Yet the Government has admitted that such cards would not have stopped the London bombers. Nor will they cut illegal immigration, since asylum-
The Government has been saying, in a catchy, misleading piece of spin: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” This is a demagogue's trick. We do have something to fear -
This is not a United Kingdom that I recognise and Parliament should not accept it.
Nor do I believe that anyone can defend another government innovation: a national identity register containing the DNA of tens of thousands of people who have never been charged with an offence. Under present legislation, DNA can be retained permanently for even minor misdemeanours, such as being drunk. A total of more than four million samples are already on the UK database -
So is a society in which the right to personal privacy is downgraded. These days a police superintendent can authorise bugging in public places. A chief constable can authorise bugging our homes or cars.
The Home Secretary can approve telephone tapping and the interception of our letters and e-
I understand -
No one can rule out the possibility of another atrocity -