British Prime Minister, Tony Blair has lost an historic ballot on proposed anti-terror laws. Measures allowing police to hold terror suspects for up to 90 days without charge have been rejected by MPs including many of Blair’s own Labour party members.
The premier had earlier tried to sway the House in his favour: “We are not living in a police state, but we are living in a country that faces a continued and real threat of terrorism.” The opposition said the measures went too far, conservative leader Michael Howard warned they could alienate ethnic minorities and ultimately act as a recruitment drive for militants.
The result 322 to 291 against the plans, is seen as a blow to Blair’s authority, he had argued that the 90 days were necessary an that MPS
had a duty to support him. In a second ballot a compromise 28 day detention limit has been approved – this doubles the time suspects can be currently held.