by Stephen Tall on September 21, 2006
It was on 15th February, this year, when Ming Campbell asked Tony Blair at Prime Minister’s Questions:
Rather than creating ambiguous and controversial offences such as the glorification of terrorism, should not the Government introduce the effective and practical measure of permitting the use of telephone intercept evidence in our courts, so that we may bring suspected terrorists to trial?
The Prime Minister replied:
… that allowing intercept evidence would damage our ability to prosecute terrorists or those involved in organised crime. That is the reason for it; it has nothing to do with civil liberties or a desire not to take action.
Today, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, told the BBC:
We do have a need to use intercept in court if we’re going to give ourselves the chance of convicting some of the most dangerous and prolific criminals in the country. It is a vital tool therefore for organised serious crime – this is what I’ve been told particularly by colleagues in the United States – and for terrorism.
I hope this flip-flop will be pointed out next time Labour talks about being tough on terrorism.