Labour Rebels Cut Majority

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), March 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Labour Rebels Cut Majority


Byline: By Bill Jacobs

Defiant Labour rebel Jim Cousins today predicted the Government would have to make further concessions over its controversial crackdown on terror suspects when it goes to the House of Lords.

The Newcastle Central MP was one of 62 Labour rebels who cut the Government's majority to 14 last night over the Home Secretary's powers to impose `control orders' on terrorist suspects.

The reduction of the Government's majority of 161 to 14 was the biggest back bench revolt since tuition fees last year.

It came despite a key concession by Home Secretary Charles Clarke over the most serious form of `control order' ( house arrest.

He said he had decided to allow a judge to make that decision following an application by the Home Secretary rather than making the order himself.

The police would have powers to arrest and detain the suspect while the judge had up to 48 hours to consider the order.

But that was not enough for Mr Cousins, the other Labour rebels, and the Tories and Liberal Democrats.

They backed an all-party amendment to ensure it would be a judge who made all the control orders, including the lesser ones restricting suspects' movements ( who they could meet, and their use of the telephone and internet. This was passed by just 267 to 253.

Mr Cousins also voted against the third reading of the Prevention of Terrorist Bill which the Government won by 272 votes to 219 a majority of 53. …

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