Responding to the annual report of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, published today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has urged the Government to “think again” over its plans to expand powers to detain people at ports and airports.
The Independent Reviewer, Max Hill QC, wrote that he is “disappointed that no threshold test is to be introduced” to govern the use of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows officers to detain people at ports and airports without suspicion of any wrongdoing.
Meantime, the Government is currently legislating to expand these powers in its Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which received its second reading in the House of Lords yesterday.
Ed Davey MP said:
“The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation is right to criticise the Government for not tightening up the rules for detaining people at ports and airports. These powers can be used without any suspicion that the person has done anything wrong, and are disproportionately used against black, Asian and minority ethnic people.
“But despite this criticism, the Conservative Government is pressing ahead with new laws that would massively expand these detention powers. That will do nothing to make us safer, but a lot to make us less free.
“The Liberal Democrats demand better when it comes to civil liberties. That’s why we voted against the Government’s authoritarian measures in the House of Commons, and why we are continuing to oppose them in the House of Lords. Today’s criticism should make the Government think again.”
The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation’s annual report is available here.
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill is available here. The Bill received its third reading in the House of Commons on 11 September 2018. The Liberal Democrats voted against, but the Conservatives, Labour and the DUP voted in favour to pass it 376–10.