Page last updated at 19:59 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 20:59 UK

Labour rebel watch

By Iain Watson
BBC News political correspondent

John Grogan
Next week MPs will vote on whether terrorist suspects can be detained for up to 42 days without charge. In the lead up to that vote we are following potential Labour rebel John Grogan (pictured right).

BACKGROUND

Government whips believe up to 50 Labour MPs do not support moves to extend the limit from 28 days. Gordon Brown says he will not back down, but the government has offered concessions. They probably need to cut rebel numbers to 30 to avoid defeat in the vote.

MONDAY 2 JUNE: BACK AT PARLIAMENT

Returning to Parliament after the week-long half term break Mr Grogan said he had "wobbled" in his opposition to the government because his natural instinct was to "support a labour government in trouble". But walking through Westminster Hall he was haunted by the ancient ghosts of liberty: "I reflected that, while prime ministers come and go, our civil liberties are very important and have been hard won." He says that concessions such as allowing Parliament a bigger say in the process did not tackle his fundamental objections: "For me it is a principle really that it should be a massive national emergency if you are detaining people beyond 28 days."

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Labour MP John Grogan on why be opposes new anti-terror plans

MONDAY 2 JUNE, 1930 BST: AFTER JACQUI SMITH MEETING

On Monday evening Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, tried to win over Labour rebels at the regular private meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Several MPs, including Frank Doran, said they had been convinced by a "strong presentation" by the home secretary. But Mr Grogan said he was still in the rebels' ranks: "I wasn't convinced the measures the home secretary was suggesting would enhance the security of the country. We should not give up lightly liberties which have taken centuries to establish. Reluctantly, I still can't support the government."

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Labour MP John Grogan on why he's yet to be convinced

WEDNESDAY 4 JUNE, 1515 BST: AFTER MEETING OTHER REBELS

Mr Grogan met with fellow Labour rebels behind closed doors at Westminster to go though the small print in the government's series of concessions. But he felt the home secretary had not gone far enough to convince him and some of his colleagues that the powers would be used only during a national emergency. He said: "The government will still be facing a very sizeable rebellion next week unless it makes radical changes." And even if the government wins the Commons vote, he predicted that the House of Lords would throw out the plans: "Many Labour peers as well as Tories and Liberals will send this back and strike out the 42 days."

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Mr Grogan believes the government still faces a 'sizeable rebellion'




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