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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005, 12:59 GMT
In quotes: Government on terror plans

Here are some of the key comments made by government ministers over plans to hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge.

8 July 2005

The purpose of terrorism is not only to kill and maim the innocent; it is to put despair and anger in people's hearts. It is by its savagery designed to cover all conventional politics in darkness, to overwhelm the dignity of democracy and proper process with the impact of bloodshed and of terror.
The politics we represent will win and will triumph over terrorism.
Prime Minister Tony Blair

26 July 2005

I am very pleased that the cross-party consensus on the way forward is continuing. I think when the main political parties present a united front then it sends an important signal to the terrorists of our strength and our determination and our unity to defeat them.
Tony Blair (after meeting Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy, who agree with most proposed measures but not the police request for 90 days detention).

5 August 2005

We will also examine whether the necessary procedure can be brought about to give us a way of meeting the police and security service request that detention, pre-charge of terrorist suspects, be significantly extended.
Tony Blair includes extension of detention time limit in list of proposed anti-terror measures.

22 September 2005

Will we compromise? We will seek to do so. My preference is to work on a basis of compromise and agreement if we can. But if Mark Oaten (Lib Dem spokesman) wants to say there is no case for extending the time beyond 14 days, I couldn't accept that. But you could have a slightly different argument about timescale.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke

9 October 2005

We have made clear all along that this bill is for discussion and debate. We have recognised it does contain a number of measures which will excite interest. We will listen to the opinions set out in Parliament and act accordingly.
Commons leader Geoff Hoon

12 October 2005

What I have to do is to try to do my best to protect people in this country and to make sure their safety and their civil liberty to life come first.
Tony Blair

2 November 2005

My proposal is that we engage in urgent discussions with colleagues on all sides of the House to see if we can reach consensus on a figure beyond 14 days.
Charles Clarke

3 November 2005

I thought it was important that MPs talk to their constituents over their weekend. Go and talk to their communities, go and talk to their police in their locality and form a view. And that's what I think should happen and we'll have the discussions that I said and we'll come forward with detailed proposals early next week.
Charles Clarke

3 November 2005

If we are forced to compromise because we can't get the legislation through, then nobody should be in any doubt: that is not the right solution. The best solution is to do what the police say they need in order to protect the country from terrorism.
Tony Blair

6 November 2005

The prime minister very much favours the 90 days as the right thing to do. He acknowledges the need to negotiate and/or compromise.
Downing Street spokeswoman

7 November 2005

11.40am:
I said very clearly that we do not accept that 28 days is an appropriate period. I stated that later today I will be tabling an amendment to reduce the amount of time from 90 days but not as low as 28 days. What I and Hazel (Blears, a home office minister) are in practice going to do during the course of today is to continue our conversations with backbench members of Parliament on all sides of the house, because there are a number of Conservatives and other as well as people on the Labour side of the House who believe that an amount of time greater than 28 and less than 90 is right.
And then we will table proposals for consideration at report before the end of today on the precise length of time.
Charles Clarke

Noon:
As Charles Clarke said just a few minutes ago, we will of course have to table amendments tonight, since this is the last time to do so before Wednesday's debate. But we intend to use the time between now and Wednesday to try to get people to understand the importance of giving the police and our security services the powers they need to prevent terrorism in this country. There's no point being daft about it. At the moment we don't have the votes to carry the 90 days. That's not for want of trying.
Tony Blair

10pm:
I decided that a sunset clause, which meant that we would review the whole situation in the round, was the right way to proceed to meet some of those concerns. At the end of the day, we are seeking agreement across the House of Commons. The government's position is 90 days is the right period of pre-charge detention. We accept the police case; we believe it's a strong case.
Charles Clarke




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