The Truth

Eliza Manningham-Buller, former MI5 chief, savages 42-day plan .........

added 8/7/08
By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent

Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, today dealt a huge blow to Gordon Brown’s plans to extend the detention of terrorist suspects to 42 days.

Making her first speech as a member of the House of Lords, the former security chief said the Government’s plans were wrong in principle and in practice.

She spoke as the Government’s controversial Counter-Terrorism Bill, narrowly approved by the Commons last month, reached the House of Lords.

The Bill would extend the period of time the police can hold terror suspects without charge to six weeks, up from the current limit of 28 days.

Ministers and some police chiefs say the new powers are needed to keep Britain safe from terrorist attack.

But Baroness Manningham-Buller, who retired last year as director-general of the Security Service after a 35-year career in British intelligence, forcefully rejected that argument.

“In deciding what I believe on these matters, I have weighed up the balance between the right to life, the most import civil liberty, the fact that there is no such thing as complete security and the importance of our hard won civil liberties,” she said. "And therefore on a matter of principle, I cannot support the 42-days pre-charge detention in this bill."

The rest of the article may be read here: Telegraph