Tories back use of phone taps to trap terrorists
The Tories will urge Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, to allow intercept evidence when the three main parties hold talks today on the Counter Terrorism Bill proposed by the Government.
Mr Clarke is prepared to look at the issue again but is unlikely to reverse his decision months ago to rule out the use of telephone taps.
Although the Metropolitan Police support the idea, it is opposed by the security and intelligence services, who believe the disadvantages would outweigh the benefits. They say terrorists are wary of using the telephone and that it would be difficult to prove in court that intercepted calls had not been tampered with.
David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, said yesterday that a judge could collate such evidence in a way fair to both sides and it could be used in a way that "does not allow defence lawyers to go on fishing expeditions". He added: "Those are the sort of proposals we would like to see more of."
Mr Davis hoped for a "a pretty constructive outcome" to today's talks and welcomed the Government's plans to create three new offences to outlaw acts preparatory to terrorism, terrorist training and "indirect incitement" to terrorism.
Mr Clarke wants to secure all-party backing for his legislation to maintain the broad political consensus since the attacks in London. But the Tories said they would not give a "blank cheque" to ministers and there are signs that the plan to ban "indirect incitement" is running into controversy.
Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, who will attend the meeting, backed legislation covering the two other offences but said: "I will be raising some practical concerns to see how the new offence of inciting terrorist activity can be made effective."
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: "What does 'indirectly inciting terrorism' mean? If it is too broad, and there is visible injustice, a new offence of that kind could actually make things a lot worse."
Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP for Tooting, warned that the proposed laws could weaken the fight against terrorism if certain sections of the community were targeted. on GMTV's Sunday programme, he said: "Will the neighbour, the family member, the person you have wrongly stopped and searched today or put under some control order or other, the next week or the week after proactively come forward and assist you the authorities in fighting terrorism and fighting crime? That is the concern."
Tomorrow Tony Blair will urge the Muslim Council of Britain to ensure mosques tighten their vetting procedures to clamp down on extremist clerics or face outside regulation.
The Government will also announce today that it is to donate £1m to the relief fund for the victims of the London bombings. It will also fast-track claims under the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...
£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...