Peers attack plan to 'rubber-stamp' laws

Anti-terror bill
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A Foreign Office minister said that the Government would reflect on a controversial proposal to allow European anti-crime measures to be passed into British law without debate after bitter opposition from peers.

But Baroness Symons told peers she could not withdraw the proposal after angry protests during a debate on the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill.

Liberal Democrat and Conservative peers attacked the proposals during clause-by-clause debate on the Bill, saying it would stifle Parliament by allowing laws to be passed as regulations without requiring full legislation in the UK.

Lord Condon, the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, added his voice to the opposition, telling peers: "I would find it difficult to persuade colleagues and members of the public that clause 110 as currently defined will take forward the fight against terrorism. I hope the noble Lord will reconsider."

Lord Wallace of Saltaire, a Liberal Democrat frontbench spokesman, sought to change the Bill, saying Parliament would not stand for legislation by stealth. He said: "Legislation which clearly short-circuits democratic debate and scrutiny is most inappropriate at a time when we are defending freedom and democracy from terrorism."

Objections emerged during detailed discussion of the Bill during its committee stage in the Lords.

Liberal Democrats withdrew an amendment, but the Bill could run into trouble when peers vote on amendments during its report stage, which starts on Thursday.

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