Ex-PM Blasts UK Government on Civil Liberties

Major blasts proposal that OKs 6-week detention without trial
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2008 11:07 AM CDT
John Major, UK prime minister from 1990 to 1997, has come out against proposed anti-terror legislation.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – The British parliament is set for a nail-bitingly close vote on a law that will allow the police to hold terror suspects without charge for 42 days—by far the longest in the free world. As Gordon Brown pushes the law and attempts to prevent his first Commons defeat, John Major writes in the London Times that the law is an indefensible part of a new "siege society."

"I don't believe that sacrifice of due process can be justified," writes the ex-PM, arguing that allowing detention without charge will embolden rather than thwart "home-grown terrorists." And other proposed incursions of civil liberties—from mandatory ID cards to bugging to a DNA database—have left Major aghast: "This is not a United Kingdom that I recognize."