Our survey shows vast majority against 42 day limit despite "safeguards"


An overwhelming majority of Labour members, supporters and left-leaning voters oppose the government’s plans for detention of terrorist suspects for up to 42 days, according to a survey conducted by Compass.

The survey of 800 people found that:

• 39.89% of respondents favour retention of the current 28 day limit, however a further 45.29% support a return to the pre-2005 limit of 14 days. Only 9.15% support the government’s position for a maximum period of 42 days detention.

• Furthermore 60.22% of respondents do not believe that the additional safeguards of requiring agreement of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Home Secretary – with the need for a report to Parliament and vote make extending the detention period any more acceptable.

• 76.28% would support the use of intercept evidence in court and 69.38% would support post-charge questioning of terrorist suspects.

• 51.56% of those who responded say they think the Counter-Terrorism Bill will increase the chances of a further terrorist attack on the UK. A mere 9.28% said they thought the legislation would make such an attack less likely.

We will now be sending the full results of the survey to the Home Secretary and Labour MPs.

We call on all our members and supporters to lobby parliamentarians on the issue. You can contact your MP via www.theyworkforyou.com. Most MPs emails use the following format: SURNAMEFIRSTINITIAL@PARLIAMENT.UK

Compass Chair Neal Lawson said: “The view from this survey is definitive; 42 days detention is a non-starter. The Prime Minister stated in January he wanted to find a consensus on this, and despite all the ‘safeguards’ the consensus could not be clearer: there’s little appetite for any extension beyond the current 28 day limit. With crucial local and London elections looming, it’s unbelievable that yet again we have the spectre of ill conceived, rashly presented legislation driving a wedge between the Government, its supporters and the electorate at large. This is an issue where the Prime Minister should now demonstrate his moral compass, put the principles of justice and democracy first and show Labour has a soul”.



Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti commented: “We’re delighted that the Compass poll endorses Liberty’s view of the disastrous 42 day policy. The poll demonstrates that the Labour movement, like the rest of the country, supports a new rational consensus on national security issues”.

Compass Parliamentary Spokesperson Jon Trickett MP said: ”As this survey shows, there is increasing evidence that there’s no consensus in the country about this measure. The Prime Minister indicated he would not proceed until he had sought a cross party agreement. I would urge the government to attempt once more to take account of the widespread objections to 42 days detention without trial before proceeding with this illiberal proposal.”

For further information contact Gavin Hayes on: 0207 463 0633

Take a look at other articles in our "social and civic justice" series. If you'd like to join the social and civic justice network please fill in the survey here.

The full results are availabe to download here

Without forgetting to congratulate our member Jon Worth who is "blogger of the week" for the Party of European Socialists. We are organising a series of debates on the PES Manifesto, join in the debate and get involved in the events here.

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