Do voters want this man be able to detain suspects without trial?
When you are just weeks away from a General Election everything has to be judged in terms of its impact on the voters – and yesterday’s Downing Street summit on the controversial anti-terror laws and new powers for the Home Secretary is no exception.
With both the Tories and the Lib Dems refusing to back measures that would allow the Home Secretary on his own to impose house arrests on terror suspects the battle-lines are drawn for a pre-election skirmish that says a lot about all the parties.
Labour now have a new stick to beat Michael Howard with – they can call him “soft on terrorism” and seek to undermine him on law and order which is one of just two areas where he consistently enjoys more support than Labour.
The Tories can attack the Government from both sides: for seeking repressive powers to detain people without going through the courts and for allowing “dangerous criminals to be detained in their living rooms rather than prison cells.”
The Lib Dems can reinforce their traditional lines on the need for the judicial process.
The debate will focus on the Government’s desire not to allow telephone intercept evidence to be used in court unlike many other countries including the US and most of Europe. The need for laws to be in place by March 10 means that this cannot be put to one side.
With new opinion polls due from ICM, YouGov and Communicate Research we should know in the next week whether Kennedy, Clarke and Howard have made the right calls.
Labour move up on spread markets.
Latest spreads from Cantor Spreadfair are LAB 355.9 – 360: CON 191.2-194.8: LD 68-70 Commons seats.
Â© Mike Smithson 2005