Terror suspect passport seizures are ‘grave prospect for modern Britain’, claims Oldham MP

Oldham MP Michael Meacher has condemned David Cameron’s anti-jihadist measures and has accused the Government of undermining core British principles.

In a statement to Parliament on Monday, the Prime Minister stated plans for the police to be granted powers to seize the passports of suspected terrorists at the border upon their return to the UK.

Mr Cameron claimed ‘passports are not an automatic right’, in his attempts to stop suspected terrorists from entering the country.

However, Oldham West and Royton MP Mr Meacher claims that the measures will not work and has likened them to the control orders which Tony Blair tried and failed to implement in 2005.

The Labour MP said: “Blair tried to bring in 90 days detention without charge, but was roundly defeated in Parliament on the grounds that this was far too extensive a removal of liberty without the right to know what one is charged with.”

“Control orders also did not achieve their purpose since several of those made subject to them simply absconded.”

The Prime Minister placed emphasis on the need to strengthen terrorism prevention and investigation measures (TPIMs), including taking legal action against suspected terrorists who have not yet committed a crime.

Defending his proposed measures in front of Parliament, Mr Cameron said: “Adhering to British values is not an option or a choice.

“It is a duty for all those who live in these islands so we will stand up for our values, we will in the end defeat this extremism and we will secure our way of life for generations to come.”

Conservative MP for Altrincham and Sale West, Graham Brady, supported the proposed plans believing something needs to be done.

“The Government must look at the most effective way of protecting the British public; this could include the removal of passports from those who can be demonstrated to have been involved with terrorist activities,” he said.

Mr Meacher is not convinced however, and has outlined his own plan for what he perceives to be the only legitimately viable course of action.

“The obvious and right solution to this limited issue within the much bigger and more demanding problem is a trial and, where proven, conviction in an open court,” he said.

Leader of the opposition and Labour party, Ed Milliband, held a contrasting view to Mr Meacher regarding the controversial control orders which were scrapped in 2011, stating in Parliament that it was a mistake for the Prime Minister to get rid of them.

The Prime Minister’s actions have been highlighted by the Labour MP as showing a clear disregard of the advice given by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson, who recommended stronger ‘locational constraints’, rather than heightened prevention technique.

Mr Meacher has outlined civil rights, democracy, pluralism and the rule of law as essential British principles, maintaining that Mr Cameron’s latest anti-extremist measures clearly violate them.

He added: “Today’s extremists can soon become tomorrow’s dissidents – a grave prospect for modern Britain.”

Image courtesy of goingundergroundrt, via YouTube, with thanks 

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