42 Days: the big distraction?

Top of the bill, Diane Abbott (to which might be added Hugh’s epithet on the nature of saying no): “This is pure politics. This is about polls. This is about positioning. This is about putting the Conservative Party in the wrong place. We should not play ducks and drakes with civil liberties just to get a few months’ advantage in opinion polls.” But Simon Carr in tomorrow’s Independent reads into the telling detail:

In future, a minister will be able to interrupt an inquest to kick out the jury, dismiss the coroner and declare the proceedings secret. Why? One reason might be that the soldier, say, lacked body armour, bullets or boots and the coroner was expressing naive disapproval. You can’t have a jury hearing a case like that. They might talk. It wouldn’t be in the public interest for such matters to get out. Oh no, it would damage confidence in the Government.

Oh, and if the new coroner “misbehaves”, he or she can be “revoked” as well. “Misbehaviour” isn’t defined but we can assume it would be misbehaviour to criticise ministers or the ministry or suggest the death was somehow avoidable or unnecessary or possibly even undesirable.

Quite a change, that.

It’ll all get nodded through. As Mark Durkan said in his melancholy way, how will MPs persuade doubters of the power of scrutiny when it comes to 42 days? The proposal is that the Commons will be asked to debate – maybe on day 35 of the citizen being detained without charge – whether or not to keep him in jail for another seven days. “The noddies have it“.

42 days perhaps was the sham fight?

  • Dewi

    Good from Indie. What is now very interesting is if Cameroon makes a public commitment to completely revoke this nonsense when elected….. I wonder.

  • interested

    The sham fight of the Tories was a little exposed when they said they were “very likely” to repeal it.

    Not definitely, not certainly, but likely… hmmmmm..

    I’m sure their stance wasn’t anything to do with wounding Brown….

  • Greenflag

    So it takes a Scottish PM backed by Northern Irish to erase Magna Carta .

    Is this a case of the DUP thanking the Tories for abolishing majority rule Stormont or is it a case of grabbing whatever they can from GB before the curtain comes down . My money is on the latter.

    History they say makes strange bedfellows . When one sees the Tories voting with Wedgewood Benn and the DUP supporting Labour .

    What a pity SF did not ride to the rescue of Magna Carta and vote to preserve the rights of Englishmen and all who live in the UK .

    There are times when I think that we carry our ‘republican ‘ credentials too far for our own good . SF might want to revise their complete stand offishness at Westminster . In a tight ‘parliament ‘ they could be as disruptive /productive for Irish interests as the DUP.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    When the 42 detention law comes into effect, with the proper checks and balances in place to prevent arbitrary detention, the sceptics will eat their words. When more terrorists are convicted using the 42 day detention, what will they do?