Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Giving evidence at the Home Affairs Committee

The session can be watched here and it was reported in the Guardian. Transcript will be sent out in a few days.

What the Guardian didn't report, and what I did say, several times, was that I did speak to two men who lost family members on 7/7, and they had both made the same point - that if the case was presented by the police and the security services that indicates that there is nothing for it but to hold people longer than 28 days as a matter of course then that is something that should be looked at. So I tried to honour that offer to make other points besides my personal opinion, and I said that it would be foolish to imagine that because people all took the same train to work one day that we all had the same opinions.

And of course that nuance didn't get into the paper. It never does.

But I said what I believed, and what other people got in touch with me to ask me to say, and I am glad that I said it. There has been no case, no precedent, there has been no evidence presented at all to show that had suspects been held for longer than 28 days they could have been charged, or a terror attack prevented. This move to extend the period of detention without trial is legislation-making based on hunches and guesswork and scaremongering, at the expense of evidence and quite likely, at the expense of intelligence lead-gathering.

And then David David ( Shadow Tory Home Sec) and Nick Clegg ( Shadow Lib Dem Home Sec) came on and pretty much said the same thing - there's not been a case made for longer than 28 days.

And I do not think that Committee are convinced by a case for extending the detention limit: I saw no sign that they were convinced at all. We'll see.

Afterwards I met Keith Vaz and David Davis, went and had an illegal fag on the roof of the House of Commons, hung out in the press gallery, (now much more smart and office-y and sadly lacking a bar and any atmosphere), and then had lunch and a gossip, in Portcullis House with journalist friends.

Subsidised grilled chicken and lentils with watercress salad was a mere £3.20. Very nice. That'd be £10 at a normal restaurant!

More on the issue here from the Guardian

And now I'm off for Kings Cross United pre-Christmas drinks session.

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Blogger Leighton Cooke said...

Glad it was chicken, not turkey, now that we have the bird flu again.

November 13, 2007 11:34 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Yeah - it'd cost you £10 a normal, unsubsidised restaurant!

November 13, 2007 11:36 pm  
Blogger Henry North London said...

I suppose they can even put it against expenses too...
Not that I'm jealous or anything!


November 14, 2007 12:30 am  
Blogger mike said...

I've had a crafty fag on the HoC roof as well... it's a very special pleasure. Did you spot the notice telling you to keep your voice down because of the offices just below - which is basically code for "Don't think you can sneak up here for an indiscreet gossiping/bitching session, because WE CAN HEAR YOU!"

November 14, 2007 11:27 am  
Blogger Leighton Cooke said...

We'll have to compile a guide on how to get an official subsidy for your restaurant. Rule 1: Make it MPs only!

November 14, 2007 4:35 pm  
Blogger Karol Cross said...

Well done Rachel! I'd have been scared stiff in such a scenario, but I thought you made your points really well and seemed quite relaxed. Great work!

November 14, 2007 7:46 pm  
Blogger Henry North London said...

Ive just watched the parliamentary bit Good on you!

November 15, 2007 4:26 am  
Blogger Henry North London said...

oh who was that guy behind you making faces in the pink tie and suit..

November 15, 2007 4:30 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I have no idea. Possibly a journalist.

November 16, 2007 7:15 pm  
Blogger Henry North London said...

I guess... we'll never know...

November 16, 2007 7:17 pm  

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