A former director of public prosecutions will oversee a review of counter-terrorism legislation, the Government said last night.
Lord Macdonald of River Glaven will be responsible for the Home Office review which will also involve police, spies, public officials and campaigners. He will focus on control orders, stop and search, pre-charge detention, deportation of terror suspects and the use of surveillance by local authorities.
The move is a key part of the Government's pledge to rebalance civil liberties and the powers of the state. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, promised to correct "mistakes" made by the Labour government which, she said, was allowed to "ride roughshod" over civil liberties. Mrs May said that she would reveal the findings of the review in the autumn.
She added: "National security is the first duty of government but we are also committed to reversing the substantial erosion of civil liberties. I want a counter-terrorism regime that is proportionate, focused and transparent. We must ensure that, in protecting public safety, the powers which we need to deal with terrorism are in keeping with Britain's traditions of freedom and fairness."
The Government has already promised a Freedom Bill, introduced legislation to scrap ID cards and announced tougher conditions on the use of stop-and-search powers. MPs will be asked tomorrow to approve a six-month extension to the existing power to detain terror suspects for 28 days before charge.