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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 March 2005, 11:14 GMT
Timeline: Terror plan battle
The BBC News Website charts the progress so far of the Prevention of Terrorism Bill through Parliament.

26 January 2005:

The Prevention of Terrorism Bill is published in response to the law lords ruling that detention of foreign terror suspects without trial breached human rights. The bill allows the home secretary to order foreign - and British - terror suspects who could not be deported or put on trial, to face house arrest or other measures such as restrictions on their movements or limits on their use of telephones and the internet. Existing powers, under which foreign detainees are being held at Belmarsh Prison, are set to expire on 14 March, meaning there is pressure to speed this bill through Parliament.

23 February 2005:

The bill suffers a rocky ride during the first debate in the House of Commons. MPs approve the plans by 309 votes to 233, despite opposition from the Tories, Lib Dems and 32 Labour rebels. Opponents of the bill say only judges, not politicians, should be able to order curbs on the liberty of British citizens.

28 February:

The bill faces line-by-line scrutiny from MPs during committee stage debate. The government sees its 161-strong majority cut to just 14 on a cross-party amendment to force the home secretary to apply to a court before being able to impose control orders. MPs vote 272-219 in favour of the bill after Mr Clarke announces a concession - that he will introduce an amendment in the Lords to ensure the most controversial control order, amounting to house arrest, would be imposed by judges and not politicians.

1 March:

The Lords begin debating the measures. They give the bill an unopposed second reading as expected - peers do not traditionally vote on bills at this stage.

3 March:

The House of Lords approves government amendments to the bill, including a key concession transferring house arrest powers from politicians to judges.

7 March:

Peers defeat the government over its anti-terror bill, voting by 249 to 119 during committee stage debate to ensure all control orders should be made by courts and not ministers. The government had wanted only the more serious control orders involving house arrest to be overseen by judges. Ex-Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine, Tony Blair's boss when he was studying for the Bar, is among 20 Labour rebels. Peers also vote for the burden of proof needed for control orders to be strengthened from "reasonable suspicion" someone is involved in terrorism to "on a balance of possibilities" someone is involved in terrorism. The government says it will give no more concessions on the bill.

8 March:

The Lords' amendment to introduce a "sunset clause" to effectively kill the bill on 30 November is backed by 297 votes to 110. The government is also defeated over the right of suspects to have state benefits. In further votes, peers insist all control measures which can be used against terror suspects must be listed in the bill. They back an amendment which says the rules governing courts in control order proceedings should be made by the lord chief justice after consulting the lord chancellor. They also vote for a Tory amendment prohibiting the use of evidence against suspects obtained under torture abroad. Lord Irvine is again among the 24 Labour rebels who back the move.

9 March:

Mr Clarke announces key concessions which he hopes will win over MPs as the bill returns to the Commons. He says he has met Lords' concerns that all control orders should be granted by judges, not ministers. He also proposes the bill be renewed yearly, but rejects changing the burden of proof needed for the orders. MPs overturn by a majority of 89 a Lords amendment calling for a higher burden of proof for control orders despite 37 Labour MPs voting against the government.

10 March:

The bill returns to the House of Lords at 1130 GMT and, as expected, faces further defeats in a heated through-the-night debate. The Lords stand firm over its three main issues: calls for a time limit - or "sunset clause"; demands for a group of senior politicians (from the privy council) to review the law and for a higher standard of proof to be used, before the proposed control orders are issued.

11 March

The bill heads back to the Commons in the early hours of the morning, where Home Office Minister Hazel Blears opens at 0120 with some minor concessions. But MPs refuse to back down on the three key amendments put forward by the Lords and overturn the peers. The bill returns once more to the Lords on Friday afternoon. As the debate begins, Lord Falconer announces that the Tories have agreed not to pursue the need for a privy council review of the bill. Peers once again vote to defy the Commons, supporting moves for two amendments: on the burden of proof for the control orders and on the "sunset clause" time limit on the bill. The debate moves back to the Commons for MPs to decide whether or not to overturn the bill.

This time an olive branch is waved by the government when Tony Blair announces he will give MPs the chance to review the law in a year's time. He denies an accusation from Tory leader Michael Howard that this represents a "sunset clause in all but name". The move succeeds in ending the deadlock between the two Houses. After more than 30 hours of debate already, the bill returns to the Lords on Friday evening, where its finally passed. It receives the Royal Assent shortly after 1930.

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