14 Oct 2008

House of Lords rejects tighter anti-terror laws

7:38 am on 14 October 2008

Britain's upper house of parliament has rejected a government proposal to tighten anti-terrorism laws, saying it does not support holding suspects for up to six weeks without charge.

In a vote carried by 309 - 118 on Monday, the House of Lords defeated the government's Counter-Terrorism Bill, which would have raised the time terrorism suspects can be held without charge to 42 days from 28 days.

The decision had been expected following criticism of the bill from senior members of the upper house including a former British intelligence chief and a former Attorney General.

The measure was narrowly approved by the House of Commons in June.

Opponents say the bill is draconian, an affront to civil liberties and unnecessary.

Government supporters say the measure would not be used regularly and is required because of the increasing complexity of investigating terrorism cases with worldwide dimensions.