Blair crackdown faces protests from MPs on all sides

Less than a day after he unveiled his sweeping 12-point anti-terror proposals, there was evidence of serious internal divisions over key elements. The Prime Minister said he was ready to amend the Human Rights Act in order to enable the deportation of foreign nationals who come to the UK to foment terrorism.

He also named two radical groups ­ Hizb ut-Tahrir and al-Muhajiroun ­ which are to be banned, and said he would consult on new powers to close mosques, bookshops and websites that are used to promote the terrorist cause.

But Muslim parliamentarians warned that the measures risked fuelling extremism. Shahid Malik, the MP for Dewsbury, said he was concerned that Mr Blair's proposal to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir would prove counter-productive. " It's going to be very difficult to ban because you are trying to ban an idea. We need to defeat that idea by argument. People are going to ask: why not ban the BNP?"

The question was echoed by Baroness Uddin, a Labour Muslim peer, who urged the Government to wait for a Commons vote before banning any organisation. "Whatever is done now must be done with full parliamentary legitimacy," she said.

Home Office officials say they were against the measure to outlaw the group that expressly opposes the use of violence but were over-ruled by Downing Street.

Charles Kennedy, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said he feared crackdowns on preachers, mosques and groups could drive extremism underground.

"The Prime Minister talks about how the mood has changed. He is correct, " said Mr Kennedy. "But you can't just legislate by mood."

Even Michael Howard, who has said the Tories broadly support Mr Blair's measures, signalled unease yesterday.

Mr Blair was backed by Khalid Mahmood, the Muslim Labour MP for Perry Barr, Birmingham. "The first thing the Hizb ut-Tahrir website talks about is that it's there to bring the downfall of any democratically elected government," he said.

Mr Blair is also already preparing for the first confrontation with Britain's most senior judges. It is understood that ministers will authorise the first deportation to Jordan next month in a move that is bound to be subject to a court challenge.

But Gareth Peirce, one of Britain's most prominent human rights lawyers, said it would be immediately challenged in court.

The Government's "memoranda of understanding" with these countries not to use torture were legally worthless, she said.

"The very fact ministers are seeking these assurances is an acknowledgement that torture is their modus operandi."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas