New blow to detention plan

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The Independent Online

Gordon Brown's efforts to persuade Labour MPs to back the 42-day detention of terrorist suspects without charge suffered a fresh blow after the plan was condemned as "fundamentally flawed" by a parliamentary committee.

Mr Brown appears to be heading for a humiliating Commons defeat on the issue next month. Rebel Labour MPs will seize on criticism from the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), which said the Government had failed to provide proof that the threat from terrorism had increased over the last year.

It said it was disappointed that the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, could not even guarantee that the extension complied with Britain's human rights laws.

However, Tony McNulty, the Policing minister, insisted yesterday that "the trajectory of [terrorist] activity was upwards".

The Labour MP Andrew Dismore, chairman of the JCHR, said it found no evidence of a need to go beyond the 28-day limit.