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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 08:46 GMT
Hain 'safer' claim sparks furore
Commons leader Peter Hain
Mr Hain said opposition parties had opposed anti-terror measures
Britain would be safer from a terrorist attack under Labour than any other party, Peter Hain has said.

The Commons leader told BBC News: "If we are tough on crime and on terrorism, as Labour is, then I think Britain will be safer under Labour."

Tory shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram said saying Britain was safe from terror under Labour was a challenge to terrorists.

He accused Mr Hain of wrongly making terror a party political issue.

Mr Hain told BBC Breakfast the government wanted to "make sure Britain is much safer from terrorists [and] organised crime".

"The Tories and the Liberal Democrats opposed lots of our measures against terrorism."

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He earlier told the BBC: "We have to create a safer, more secure country and it is our Labour Party that is achieving that.

"It's our assertion that we are providing more security and safety for this country and its citizens than alternative policies."

He added that he believed "the risk would be lower under Labour", because of the measures it was planning to deal with the terrorist threat.

The Liberal Democrats branded Mr Hain's stance as "disgusting".

And Mr Ancram told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's totally at variance with what the prime minister was saying - that the issues were now going to be domestic.

"He's trying to raise the whole question of terrorism again in order to scaremonger. He obviously has no confidence in his domestic programme.

"He's trying to raise the ante on terrorism. He's trying to create a climate of fear in this country, which I think is a very dangerous thing to do.

"It is an irresponsible thing to do. He's playing party politics with an issue that is above and beyond party politics."

'Climate of fear'

Liberal Democrat chairman Matthew Taylor said: "This is a disgusting claim from the Leader of the House of Commons who in his role should know better than most that all parties are united in their concern to keep Britain safe from terrorism.

"The kind of claim George Bush's campaign team made in the US against the Democrats will not go down well in Britain."

Downing Street said Mr Hain was simply saying that the planned measures were there to make the country more secure.

"What he is not doing is attempting to create a climate of fear or make a party political point."

A spokesman added that the issue would only become party political if the opposition parties disagreed with the government.


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