MPs warn law would turn Cherie Blair into a criminal

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joined an insurrection by Labour backbenchers as they savaged the Terrorism Bill during an unusual line-by-line debate on the floor of the Commons.

They condemned proposals for a new offence of glorifying terrorism before turning their fire on to highly contentious plans to give police powers to hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow Attorney General, protested that the glorification law could criminalise anyone who justified violence carried out by the African National Congress and by the Bosnian resistance against Serbia. He added: "The glorification of Robin Hood is likely to be covered by this."

Kenneth Clarke, the former Tory chancellor, said there was nothing in the proposed legislation that would make the public safer. "It's ridiculous, it's absurd, it should never have been brought before us ... it has been dragged together from all over the place to give the impression of a dynamic, tough government taking firm action," he said.

John Denham, a former Home Office minister and the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the former US president George Bush would have fallen foul of the Bill when he called on Iraqis to overthrow Saddam Hussein after the 1991 Gulf war.

Alistair Carmichael, for the Liberal Democrats, described parts of the Bill as "opaque" while others "border on the impenetrable".

He said: "It fails a very basic test and that is it is one of the fundamental principles of natural justice that laws should be sufficiently clear that the citizens can regulate their conduct by them."

Alan Simpson, Labour MP for Nottingham South, said George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia would have been caught by the Bill. "The far-reaching consequences of the Bill in its current form are so draconian as to virtually provide a Bill that could have been drafted for us by al-Qa'ida ... We are doing what al-Qa'ida sought to do by other means and we will not be thanked by society for it," he said.

Bob Marshall-Andrews, Labour MP for Medway, proposed amendments forcing prosecutors to prove intent when taking cases of alleged incitement to terrorism to court. He said Cherie Blair's famous statement of sympathy with Palestinians driven to resist the Israeli government would have been illegal under the "odious" proposed ban on glorifying terrorism."

Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, signalled a partial climbdown, denying that people could be charged with incitement as a result of their own negligence. "I am prepared to say that there are legitimate concerns and I will continue to discuss that issue," she told MPs.

Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, faced a second torrent of criticism as the Commons moved on to discuss plans to hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

Mr Grieve said the plans were "at the outer limits of what would currently pass scrutiny under the European Convention on Human Rights".

He said: "Merely to say you can detain somebody beyond 14 days for the purpose of questioning strikes me as being really a very unpleasant concept."

David Winnick, Labour MP for Walsall North, said that MPs should not introduce the 90-day detention simply because the police had requested it. "That does not seem to me to be right and not fulfilling the functions of the Commons."

Shahid Malik, the Labour MP for Dewsbury, said that only 11 people had been held up to the current maximum of 14 days without charge - "there seems to be no example in the last two years of any one case where detention would be justified to 90 days".

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Lead FE Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, jQuery, Knockout)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead FE Softwa...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed for Se...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor