Blair crackdown faces protests from MPs on all sides
Sunday 07 August 2005
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."
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Oscar Pistorius trial: The week he went from a hero of his nation and the world, to a gun-loving hothead
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Malaysia Airlines plane: Oil slick is first sign that missing flight crashed into sea killing up to 239 on board
International Women's Day 2014: Cherie Blair - ‘Today is a chance to see how far we still have to go’
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...