Admiral Lord West not on message

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Weissbier, Nov 14, 2007.

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  1. From today's Daily Telegraph

    Security minister slapped down by Gordon Brown
    By James Kirkup, political correspondent, and Gary Cleland
    Last Updated: 10:22am GMT 14/11/2007

    Admiral Lord West, the security minister, was today forced into an abrupt and humiliating U-turn after publicly opposing Gordon Brown's bid to raise the time limit on holding terror suspects without charging.

    The former navy chief was drafted into the government in the summer and asked to review Britain's defences against al-Qa'eda terrorists, and parts of that review will be presented to parliament later today.

    The Prime Minister's most contentious anti-terror proposal is to look at raising the pre-charge detention time limit from 28 to 56 days.

    Civil liberty groups, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and dozens of Labour MPs have opposed any increase.

    In a radio interview shortly after 8am this morning, Lord West made clear he, too, is unconvinced of the need to give the police more power to detain people who have not been charged.

    The security minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I want to have absolute evidence that we actually need longer than 28 days.

    "I want to be totally convinced because I am not going to go and push for something that actually affects the liberty of the individual unless there is a real necessity for it."

    Allies of the Prime Minister have suggested that secret intelligence reports prove the case for a higher time limit.

    But Lord West, who has access to classified intelligence, said he had seen nothing to persuade him.

    He said: "I still need to be fully convinced that we absolutely need more than 28 days and I also need to be convinced what is the best way of doing that."

    Despite the apparently categorical message in his remarks, the minister later issued an unusual public statement in which he insisted that he had in fact meant to back the Prime Minister's plans.

    The admiral's statement was issued by the Home Office.

    It said: "I am quite clear that the greater complexities of terrorist plots will mean that we will need the power to detain certain individuals for more than 28 days.

    "Already six individuals have been held over 27 days and the number of plots, and their growing international nature, will only make them more complex to investigate.

    "I was stating this morning that there will need to be scrutiny in the system, and robust evidence against individuals, to safeguard their rights.

    "I am convinced that we need to legislate now so that we have the necessary powers when we need them.

    "The Government would be failing in its responsibility to protect national security if we waited until we needed more than 28 days to act."

    In advance of the publication of Lord West's report, Mr Brown paved the way for tough new security measures by warning that terrorists could attack the UK “anywhere and from any place”.

    Writing in The Sun newspaper, Mr Brown said: “Terrorism can hit us anywhere from any place.”

    He added: “But just as the terrorists use every method and the very freedoms we enjoy to kill or maim people, so we must also adopt new tools to beat the terrorists, secure our borders and create a safe global society.”

    He said Lord West’s report contained “key recommendations for the protection of our national security” but that physical protections had to go alongside improved community relations.

    “It is a battle we will have to fight street by street, community by community and year by year. But standing together, resolute and calm, we can win it.”

    The report is expected to recommend that sports grounds, shopping centres, cinemas, theatres and other “at risk” venues improve security, including employing specially-trained door staff.

    Schools and hospitals will also be issued with new guidance on protecting pupils, patients and staff, according to reports. Lord West will also call on architects to integrate anti-terrorism measures into new buildings.

    However, he will add that such measures, including barriers, should be as unobtrusive as possible.

    It is understood his report is too sensitive to be published in full, and only his conclusions and some other limited points will be made public.
  2. That will teach him to read the script carefully prepared for him and not let slip what he really thinks.
  3. Blunder, panic and cover-up, anyone?
  4. How gutless of him! What did the Navy do, cut his balls off?
  5. Exactly that. How dare someone brought into the government as an advisor express there own point of view and not that of the Great Leader?
  6. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Someone got to him perhaps? Someone needs to check if he is still in posession of his Ipod.
  7. Christ, he's not going to lose his pension so why not stand up to Brown, force him to sack you if he dares and bang another nail into his coffin.

    Force of habit for seniors I suppose.
  8. Another Naval surrender.
  9. hope he gets to keep his ipod.
  10. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Was he looking dejected, pathetic and smoking a fag proffered by his capto . . . er, host when he did his climbdown?
  11. Was he wearing a shiny new Iranian suit when he said it?
  12. I can only imagine how easy it is to keep the Chiefs of Staff in line. Wonder if Broon gives out goody bags........
  13. At least General Ramsbotham (Retd) went down guns blazing when he was Chief Inspector of Prisons.
  14. He dishes out those "joke" specs that have a nose, moustache, and eyes on springs (just one eye of course)
  15. Good christ. The security minister gets told to toe the line by a bunch of useless cnuts in Westminster and people are surprised?

    The only astonishing thing is that he was allowed to open his trap in public first without prior screening from the Labour Whips.