Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden)(Con):

    Does the Home Secretary realise that this country is reluctant to entrust a Government who went to war on the basis of unfounded suspicion with a power to lock people up on the basis of unfounded suspicion? Can he confirm that he is under no legal obligation to change the law, since the Law Lords found his measures not unlawful, but simply incompatible with European convention on Human rights because they were disproportionate and discriminatory? Is it not barking mad to say that the remedy for disproportionate discrimination against a minority is to extend the same measures of harsh disproportionate loss of freedom to the whole country? Does he realise that he is creating a precedent when there is no reason or justification for it?

    Mr Clarke:

    First, I do not accept that it would have been appropriate to ignore the Law Lords judgement, as the right hon. Gentleman implied. It is not a good state of affairs when the Law Lords take one position and the Executive take another. We should try to bring matters to a proper basis. I should have that that commanded general support across the House. On the second point that it is necessary to make in response to the right hon. Gentleman, I do not think – he will correct me if I’m wrong – that he would argue that the issues around weapons of mass destruction in Iraq lead to the conclusion that there is no security issue here that needs to be addressed. There are security issues. If he is saying that no security assessment can be trusted, so no action should ever be taken, I cannot imagine a less responsible position for a politician to take.