Goldsmith challenges Blair over terror laws

Attorney General warns ministers. 90-day lock-up plan 'not justified'

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, is believed to have told the Home Secretary he is not persuaded it would be right to detain terror suspects for 90 days. The warning comes as members of the Cabinet prepare to meet police tomorrow to discuss the Government's terror Bill which is published this week.

Lord Goldsmith, who is a member of the Cabinet, has recently written to Charles Clarke giving his views on the Government's new anti-terror legislation ahead of the meeting. His failure to give the stamp of approval to the proposed terror law threatens to embarrass the Government and could throw its plans to crack down on terrorism into disarray. Lord Goldsmith's doubts are understood to be shared by several other members of the Cabinet as well as by senior figures in the Home Office.

In his note to Mr Clarke, the Attorney General is believed to have said that, although extending detention beyond 14 days would be acceptable, he is not convinced that keeping suspects incarcerated for as long as 90 days would be justified.

"He has written as a member of the Cabinet in response to the terrorism Bill," a senior government source said. "He is not persuaded that it is justifiable to hold them for three months. That doesn't mean he might not be persuaded in future."

Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, has written to Mr Clarke asking him to publish all Lord Goldsmith's papers on the terror proposals. He has made it clear that the Liberal Democrats will, like the Tories, oppose plans to incarcerate suspects for as long as 90 days.

Tony Blair is likely to confront criticism head on when he holds a press conference this week and meets Labour MPs. Tony Blair's own watchdog on terror laws has warned that proposals to hold suspects for up to three months may be unworkable, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. An official report sent to the Home Secretary has raised doubts about the plans.

The Government's official reviewer of terrorism law, Lord Carlile of Berriew, is believed to have warned there could be problems with holding suspects for up to three months. The report, due to be published this week, is expected to criticise the proposal to extend detention of terrorist suspects from 14 days to three months and recommend a fresh look at a Continental system which offers suspects greater judicial protection.

Lord Carlile, a senior QC and criminal barrister who was appointed the statutory reviewer of terrorism legislation in 2001, refused to comment on the contents of his report. But, speaking to the IoS, he reiterated the need for anti-terror laws to be compatible with human rights legislation.

"One of the things is that you have to balance the civil liberties of people who are accused, sometimes wrongly, of being involved in terrorism, against the civil liberties of the vast majority of the public who do not want to be blown up on the Tube," he said. "There are two issues. One is the time limits; the second is ensuring that evidence is gathered in a proper way. And you have to ensure that there is an appropriate system of law to protect the subject."

His report is expected to refer to a 2003 paper on terror by Lord Newton. This highlighted a French system employing a security-cleared judge and offered stronger legal safeguards.

Suggested Topics
News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

News

Florida mother launched a petition to ban the sale of the dolls

Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
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

Front end web developer - URGENT CONTRACT

£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...

ABAP Developer

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ampersand Consulting LLP: SAP ABAP Developer - Rugb...

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Health & Social CareTeacher - Full time and Part time

£90 - £140 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Sixth for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?