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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 13:23 GMT
West denies terror limit U-turn
A forensic team checks the scene of the Glasgow attack
The report was prompted by the failed Glasgow Airport attacks
Security minister Lord West has denied being forced to change his mind on extending terror detention limits.

Lord West told the BBC at 0820 he had yet to be convinced of the need to extend the 28 day limit, a view at odds to most recent ministerial comments.

Just over an hour later, after a visit to Downing Street, he told the BBC that he was actually convinced of the case.

He later insisted he had not changed his mind, saying as a "simple sailor" he had not chosen his words well.

Lord West's comments came as Mr Brown prepared to outline the conclusions of the peer's review into strengthening security in crowded public areas and designing anti-terror features in new buildings and projects.

Convinced or not?

During the Today programme interview former Admiral Lord West said he still needed "to be fully convinced that we absolutely need more than 28 days".

I haven't changed my position. Maybe being a simple sailor and not a politician I didn't choose my words very well
Lord West

"I want to be totally convinced because I am not going to go and push for something that actually affects the liberty of the individual unless there is a real necessity for it."

But then at 0930, after a half-hour meeting with Mr Brown, the peer told the BBC he was "personally convinced" that the 28-day limit needed extending.

"I personally, absolutely believe that within the next two or three years we will require more than that for one of those complex plots," he said.

He later issued a statement in an attempt to clarify his position saying: "I am quite clear that the greater complexities of terrorist plots will mean that we will need the power to detain certain individuals for more than 28 days."

Judicial oversight

Mr Brown's official spokesman said: "Lord West set out his position clearly in the second statement.

"On the Today programme interview he made a number of points, including that there was a case to go beyond 28 days."

BBC political editor Nick Robinson
Uncertain, yet to be convinced? You need half an hour with Gordon
BBC political editor Nick Robinson

He confirmed that Lord West had met the prime minister in between the two comments, but denied any suggestion that Mr Brown had influenced Lord West's second statement.

He said the prime minister and the government's position was that there "is a case for extending beyond 28 days" but this has to be given judicial oversight.

Tories, Lib Dems and some Labour MPs plan to try to block the move to raise the limit, saying there is no evidence change is needed.

During Mr Brown's terrorism statement, Conservative leader David Cameron said Lord West appeared to have been "leant on".

And Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said Lord West's apparent u-turn was a "kind of Keystone Cops politics, frankly".

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Lord West's comments before and after






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