New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
30 April 2008

Does Anyone Mean What They Say?

The Prime Minister is losing the argument on 42 days, but Cameron is still unconvincing standing up

By Martin Bright

Watching the PM and David Cameron debating 42 days detention without charge at PMQs was a surreal experience. David Cameron accused Gordon Brown of political calculation. He is attempting to present himself as the “security” Prime Minister, said Cameron, with more than a hint of envy. This is the Tory leader’s problem. He is not convincing on matters of principle, whether it is telling the Today programme earlier this week how concerned he is for the poorest in society or attacking the government for its record on civil liberties.

Gordon Brown can’t really believe there is a sustainable argument for extending detention without charge. He couldn’t even get the figure right (his slip of “48 days” is a revealing one). But it looks like he is going to stick with it. Where Cameron is right is that this will drag on until a compromise with Labour rebels can be found. It’s all so depressing.

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