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Parties On Anti-terror

by msecadm4921

Political parties are working together to examine a range of anti-terror measures over the summer, PM Tony Blair has said.

The Prime Minister was speaking after discussing proposals with Opposition politicians at No 10 Downing Street yesterday.

All parties, he claimed, are supporting the creation of three new offences outlawing inciting terrorism, preparing an attack and giving or receiving terror training.

Other measures, including increasing the time terror suspects can be held without charge and increased use of phone taps and other intercept evidence in court, are being considered.

The proposals will be finalised and put to the Opposition parties in September, the PM told his monthly press conference. He said: "I am very pleased that the cross-party consensus on the way forward is continuing. I think when the main political parties present a united front then you send an important signal to the terrorists of our strength, our determination, our unity to defeat them."

Meanwhile Tory leader Michael Howard said: "Intercept evidence should be admissible at trials and we have put forward a detailed scheme which we believe will meet all the concerns expressed, and that is being looked at seriously."

The Opposition Leader signalled that assurances had been received from the Prime Minister that Parliament – now closed down for a 10 week summer recess – could be recalled if further atrocities occur. "We discussed the possibility, and it will depend on events," Mr Howard said. He added: "If something happens that makes it important for Parliament to have a discussion and debate, we have had assurances that will happen."

But responding to the call for extended police powers to hold terror suspects for up to three months, Mr Howard said: "We see considerable difficulties in this. That is a long time to hold someone without charge and possibly just release them after that. This is being looked at by the Prime Minister and no doubt the Government will come forward with their proposals."

Mr Howard said he expected to hear from 10 Downing Street on firm proposals towards the end of August or early in September. "There is a great desire, at a time when the country faces such great danger, to work together. It is very important to see the country united in response to the danger we face. We hope it will be possible to reach agreement on further measures to deal with the threat more effectively."

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