Brown wins new terror law by 9 votes

Gordon Brown has won a knife-edge vote on plans to hold suspected terrorists for up to 42 days without charge.MPs voted by a majority of just nine to pass the new laws, although the government appears to have had to rely on the votes of the Democratic Unionist Party to secure the win.

James Goffin

Gordon Brown has won a knife-edge vote on plans to hold suspected terrorists for up to 42 days without charge.

MPs voted by a majority of just nine to pass the new laws, although the Government appears to have had to rely on the votes of the Democratic Unionist Party to secure the win.

There had been strong opposition to the law from opposition parties, and the director of public prosecution Sir Ken Macdonald QC had said he believed extending the period suspects could be held without charge from 28 to 42 days was unnecessary.


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But Mr Brown and home secretary Jacqui Smith have maintained that the change is needed to cope with increasingly complicated threats from international terrorism.

Around 37 Labour MPs are thought to have rebelled against the Prime Minister and voted alongside the Conservatives and Liberal Demorats.

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Despite the Commons win, the House of Lords is expected to reject the changes which could now 'ping-pong' between the two chambers for up to a year.

At that point the Commons could force the law through against the wishes of the Lords.

Former prime minister Tony Blair suffered his first Commons defeat over earlier proposals to extend the period of detention to 90 days.

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