Terrorism control orders under review

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The controversial system of control orders for terrorist suspects would be replaced by a much looser surveillance regime without electronic tags or home curfews under plans being championed by Lib-Dem ministers.

Suspects would have to surrender their passports, but would be allowed to travel around the country and to use the internet and mobile phones. Their movements would be tracked by police as an alternative to the current conditions of virtual house arrest.

If the move was approved by the Cabinet, it would represent a victory for Nick Clegg over his Tory partners and the security services.

The Liberal Democrat proposals are still meeting fierce resistance among Tory Cabinet ministers, including Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who has argued that control orders should remain in some form.

Both Lib-Dem and Tory sources stressed that no final decision had been taken over the future of control orders – nor had any date been set for the issue to be discussed by the Cabinet.

Currently nine people are on control orders introduced by Tony Blair's government in 2005.