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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 March 2005, 15:23 GMT
Tebbit attacks Blair over terror
Lord Norman Tebbit
Lord Tebbit was badly hurt in the 1984 Brighton bombing
Former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit has attacked Tony Blair for suggesting the Tories are soft on terror while himself making "no move" against the IRA.

It comes after ministers accused Tory leader Michael Howard of risking UK security by opposing new terror laws.

Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Lord Tebbit condemned the prime minister for freeing Brighton bomber Patrick Magee under the Good Friday Agreement.

Lord Tebbit was among 34 people wounded in the 1984 attack which killed five.

His criticism followed the granting of new anonymity orders concerning seven former terror detainees.

The High Court granted the orders late on Saturday to replace previous anonymity orders concerning the suspects, who were released under new anti-terror laws.

The original orders expired on Friday night when old anti-terror legislation was replaced by the new terrorism bill.

I feel a sensation of nausea that a man so detached from reality and truth could be the prime minister of this country
Lord Tebbit

Lord Tebbit told Scotland on Sunday the Brighton bomber's release undermined Mr Blair's attempts to seem tougher than the Tories on terror.

Magee had been serving eight life sentences for the bombing of the Grand Hotel where Conservative delegates had gathered for their party conference when he was freed in 1999.

Lord Tebbit, whose wife Margaret was paralysed, told the newspaper the IRA had killed more British people than al-Qaeda killed Americans in the 11 September attacks.

He said: "Considering Blair is the man who let out of prison a whole battalion of murderers, including the man that crippled my wife, that nearly killed me and murdered my friends, I find it difficult to take his claims seriously."

"I feel a sensation of nausea that a man so detached from reality and truth could be the prime minister of this country."

In reaction, a Labour party spokesman said: "The government acts on the advice it receives from the police and the intelligence service, and the application of anti-terrorist law."

Lord Tebbit's attack is the latest in a war of words between the UK's main political parties over the issue of terrorism.

Control orders signed

On Saturday, Leader of the Commons Peter Hain said Michael Howard had put security at risk by attacking legislation bringing in control orders for terror suspects without having a "coherent alternative".

But Tory co-party chairman Liam Fox said Tony Blair's handling of the matter had shown he was "arrogant and out of touch".

Grand Hotel, Brighton, after the bombing
Magee was released 15 years after carrying out the Brighton bombing

Meanwhile, Lib Dem president Simon Hughes said his party would continue to oppose the bill and would vote to repeal it in the next parliament.

The powers were finally approved on Friday after a marathon parliamentary debate.

The first control orders, imposed on 10 former terror detainees, were signed by Home Secretary Charles Clarke just hours later.

These impose conditions such as electronic tagging and curfews on the men, who are all foreign nationals.

The new anonymity orders granted on Saturday concern all but three of the men whose names have already been published.

The orders prohibit the publication of any details that could identify the suspects other than Abu Qatada, Djamel Ajouaou and Abu Rideh.

They also ban publication of the men's addresses, names of family members and photographs, drawings or likenesses made of the detainees or any family living with them.





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