Ed’s interviews with Andrew Marr and the Sunday Telegraph

You can read a transcript of Ed’s interview on the Andrew Marr Show or watch it on iPlayer.

The full quotes from his interview with the Sunday Telegraph on how Labour will approach the government’s review of counter-terrorism powers can also be found below:

“On pre-charge detention, there’s now a widespread expectation that the review will propose a reduction from 28 days, and that’s a reflection of the reality in terror cases: no terrorist suspect has been held for more than fourteen days for more than three years, and most have been charged within 48 hours. Our approach should always be that if the evidence shows we can go down from 28 days without impeding the police and the security services from doing their jobs, then we ought to do it. If that’s what is proposed on the basis of the best police and security service evidence, then as a responsible Opposition, I’m confident that we will support that. I’m not going to get into the game of opposing things simply so we can say we’re tougher on terrorism than the coalition.”

“But at the same time we’ve got to remember that in Operation Overt there were individuals charged after 21 days and there may be exceptional times when 14 days is not enough. Rather than rush through emergency legislation if that situation arises, some experts have suggested one option would be to allow strict and time-limited bail conditions between 14 and 28 days. If that’s what the review comes up with, obviously we’ll look at that very carefully indeed. The important thing is to have a system that works in theory and in practice, and which allows us to do things in an orderly way, not by constantly having to declare an emergency.”

“I’m quite clear we must always strike a balance between protecting our country from the risks of terrorist attacks on the one hand, and preserving our democratic freedoms and fundamental liberties on the other: it should never be a case of one or the other. In government, I’ve no doubt that my Labour colleagues did their best on every occasion to get that balance right in the face of the real and dangerous threats against the country, but did we always succeed? Probably not. We did not get everything right, and certainly one example of that was the proposal for pre-charge detention up to 90 days. Even 42 days was a step too far. Our reputation as a party which protected liberty as well as security suffered as a result.”

“On control orders, like everyone else, I want to see the detailed evidence and I want to hear the outcome of the review. They’re such exceptional measures that in an ideal world of course we would want to manage without them. Nobody would sit down with a blank piece of paper to draw up the laws and procedures of a country, and include control orders. But there is no doubt that there are now – and will be in the future – certain individuals who cannot be charged with any crime, who can’t be deported, but who pose a real and serious threat. So the question is – if we’re not going to keep control orders or if they’re not working effectively – what are the other means available to us which would allow us to achieve that crucial balance between protecting ourselves from terrorism on the one hand and safeguarding the rule of law on the other. If the evidence shows that there is a workable alternative, then we’ll look at that very carefully. It would be crazy not to. Some experts have suggested one option might be to use greater covert surveillance and extend the use of the kind of travel bans currently used to prevent football hooliganism. So I say fine, let’s look at it.”

“As a matter of principle I think our starting point in all these discussions should be to encroach as little as possible on fundamental liberties like freedom of movement, freedom of association, not to be held without charge. But at the same time we can’t be naïve about the risks we face. I’ve told the Home Secretary that, wherever possible, I would like to be able to support the Government over the counter-terrorism measures that must be taken – and we will play our part in building a new consensus for the future. That’s what a responsible Opposition should do. The decisions we take in this area should be determined above all by what the evidence shows. That’s why over the last few months I’ve been talking to experts on all sides of the debate. But without seeing all the evidence for myself and seeing the conclusions of the review, I don’t think it is right for the Opposition to set out a definitive view. Once we’ve seen the evidence and seen the review, then we’ll be happy to set out our detailed position on each aspect.”

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Posted November 21st, 2010 by Ed's team

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