A big day

Posted by Tim Ireland at March 11, 2005

Category: The War on Stupid

This entry was posted on
Friday, March 11th, 2005
9:04 am and is filed
under The War on Stupid.

In a lot of ways.

I’ll mostly be posting late this afternoon.

The ‘Blair or Howard’ debate continues over at Tom’s.

You’ll also want to read this:

Chicken Yoghurt: Stop me before I kill again, pleads Straw

And these:
Honourable Fiend: Questions that nobody’s asking the National Labour Party
Observer Blog: Right, you’ve had your fun

Also pay close attention to the ‘we are the democratic house’ argument that’s finally reared its ugly head… and this little dance over the sunset clause that may or may not have been long range or short range ruled out by advice from the security services…

Guardian – Clarke urges Lords to give way on terror bill: The Tory leader, Michael Howard, angrily called on Tony Blair to come to the House to withdraw comments made in prime minister’s questions on Wednesday in which he appeared to suggest the security services had advised against a sunset clause. It followed an admission by Ms Blears that the advice from the security services referred only to the issue of the burden of proof… Today the home secretary dismissed Mr Howard’s call as a cynical ruse to distract and delay proceedings.


Watch closely and approach carefully. There’s a lot of bulldust passing itself off as debate today.

There’s also the very real risk that the opposition in the House of Lords may be weakened by sheer exhaustion.

UPDATE – Europhobia: Thank the Lord for the Lords: The entire POINT of the House of Lords is to do precisely what it has been doing over the last few days. The Lords’ sole purpose is to prevent a Commons dominated by one party with a large majority from passing bad legislation via a three-line whip.

UPDATE – A few snippets from the front line, which includes a reference to Tom. Hm. Is Tom blaming Vodafone here? Shall we start a campaign of harrasment and insist that either Tom or Vodafone is lying? Once we imagine that we’ve got our answer, I’m sure this could be bigger than the Swift Boat Vets! etc. etc. etc.

UPDATE – Via GuidoThe New Labour Code

UPDATE (3:30pm):
BBC – MPs reconsider anti-terror bill
BBC – Blair accused over sunset advice
BBC – The last eight foreign terror suspects detained in UK jails without charge have been granted bail

Keep a close eye on Richard Allan’s weblog, where lots is being blogged live (or as close to live as it gets, what with all the voting and the sword-waving that has to be done in-between posts).

The UK Today – Terror: In spite of British involvement in Iraq; in spite of tying our colours to America’s mast, we have yet to see any deaths from terrorist acts on the mainland. Yet Labour wants to introduce powers that would allow it, or any future government, to seriously restrict our civil liberties. And Labour doesn’t want the powers to be open to review. This is not about your safety or mine. It is about the transition of power from the judicial domain to the political arena.

UPDATE (5:01pm):

Honourable Fiend: the farce continues: Clarke stands up in the house and says both that he’ll introduce a replacement act shortly, and that he’s still completely ruling out the “sunset clause” amendment… All the Tory front bench eyebrows suddenly hit the ceiling since Chuckie hadn’t spoken to them about this before saying it in the House

BBC – Blair olive branch over terror: Tony Blair has urged opponents of his anti-terror bill to “come to their senses” and accept plans for new laws that will deal with their concerns. In a move designed to end deadlock over the issue, he pledged to give MPs with “genuine concerns” the chance to review the law in a year. Mr Blair insisted this did not amount to the sunset clause demanded by opposition parties. But he warned the Tories there would be no more concessions on the bill.

UPDATE (5:31pm – this same link now updated to read):

BBC – Howard accepts Blair terror deal: Tory leader Michael Howard says he accepts the prime minister’s offer of new laws that will deal with his concerns over the anti-terror bill. Mr Howard said Tony Blair’s pledge to give MPs a chance to review the law in a year’s time was a “sunset clause in all but name”. This was earlier denied by Mr Blair – but Mr Howard said his party had got what it had been asking for. The moves look set to end the deadlock between MPs and peers over the bill.

And here’s a picture what I made about them sunset clawses.

UPDATE (6:19pm) – Richard Allan: 42 O’Clock and the Deal is Done: Liberal Democrats are still concerned about a key point of principle on the standard of proof that must be used to secure a control order. We wish to see a higher standard used than that proposed by the Government and may vote again in the Lords for an amendment making this change though it is unlikely we will win again if the Conservatives no longer support us. Many members of both Houses are still unsure about aspects of the Bill but it is certainly a different beast from that which was initially introduced into Parliament. The pain has been worth it in terms of securing changes. It is a shame they had to be dragged out of the Government like pulling teeth.

UPDATE (9:11pm):
BBC – Government’s terror bill passed: The end to the stalemate came after the Tories accepted a compromise offered by Prime Minister Tony Blair. His promise to allow MPs to review the bill in a year’s time succeeded, although the Conservatives claimed it as their victory.


  1. Europhobia says

    Thank the Lord for the Lords

    Update: Bloggerheads has more

  2. Peter Kenyon says

    Tom, who has so far studiously ignored my posting of references to Clause IV of the Labour Party Rule Book, and failed to publish a reminder sent in the wee hours last night, appears (at the time of writing) to be silently editing the Blair or Howard debate.This may seem off the wall to some of your readers.But at the heart of these exchanges is how Labour Party members force two issues on to the national agenda, namely how the country is being governed and the policies that will define Labour’s 3rd term (if it gets re-elected) are being decided.Bob Piper in his latest contribution describes Blair as a lame-duck Leader post the election. Saying it is one thing, how could it happen? Only if significant sections of the Party take principled stands on those issues IMHO.So far there is little evidence of principles getting in the way of the politicking being acted out in Westminster currently, except on the part of their Lordships and bizarrely – the Tories, Lib-Dems and the usual Labour suspects in the Commons.My questions to Tom were how could Labour justify its proposed anti-terrorist legislation, which is in flagrant breach of its own constitution as set out in Clauses IV (b) headed, A Just Society and (c) headed ?An Open Democracy??

  3. Little Red Blogger says

    Insomniac Lords Leap on House Arrest Bill

    The House of Lords is holding out over the House Arrest Bill, extending it’s debate over night. The irony that the undemocratically elected Lords are preserving our ancient liberties…

  4. Luca's Ade says

    I see Blair is again hearing one thing from the security services and telling parliament something else. How often can he get away with this?

  5. British BullBlog says

    Bloody-Minded Blair

    As the British Government pulls an all-nighter to try and agree on the exact terms that should be used in dictating the correct punishment for people not convicted of a crime, I can’t help but wonder about the Blairites’ motivation.

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