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Britain's Home Secretary says no deals struck to secure passage of proposed terror laws

Britain's Home Secretary says no deals struck to secure passage of proposed terror laws

British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith insisted Sunday that no back-room deals have been struck to help the government win a key vote on toughening the country's terror laws.
Lawmakers will vote on Wednesday on plans to give police up to 42 days to detain terrorism suspects before charges are filed, extending the current limit of 28 days.
Rejection of the proposal by lawmakers would be Prime Minister Gordon Brown's first defeat in Parliament and would be likely to dent his grip on power.
Police and some lawmakers back the plans, saying officers increasingly need more time to unravel complex terrorism cases and collect evidence from multiple countries.
Opponents of the proposals, who include Britain's chief prosecutor, civil liberties groups and the main opposition Conservative Party, claim the changes are unnecessary.
Smith denied on Sunday that extra funding had been pledged to Northern Ireland to secure the votes of the nine Democratic Unionist Party lawmakers who represent the region in the House of Commons.
"This is not about doing deals. This is about doing the right thing by the country, and this country's security," Smith told British Broadcasting Corp. television.
John Major, a former Conservative Party prime minister, said the proposals appeared designed to prove Brown's leadership credentials, rather than assist in fighting terrorism.
Some lawmakers claim that detaining terrorism suspects without charge for longer periods is likely to cause more resentment and anger toward British authorities, particularly within the Muslim community.
"The question I have to ask every time is, will this save lives?" senior Conservative party lawmaker David Davis told the BBC. "In my view, very plainly, it will do the opposite."
Davis said that, if the laws are passed, a future Conservative government would reverse the change.
But an opinion poll by ICM for the Sunday Telegraph suggested there is public support for tougher laws.
It reported that 65 percent of respondents backed Brown's plan, with 30 percent favoring the current limit.
ICM said it interviewed 1,023 adults by telephone on June 4 and 5. No margin of error was given, but in polls of a similar size it is typically plus or minus three percent.
Graham Foulkes, whose son David was killed in the July 7, 2005, bomb attacks on London's transit network, said he was backing the government plans. "It's wrong to place a higher value on being detained for six weeks than on people's lives," Foulkes told the BBC.
Brown on Saturday wrote to all 351 of his Labour legislators urging them to back the plans.


Updated : 2020-11-30 01:13 GMT+08:00