Government defeated in terror vote

Plans to hold terror suspects for 90 days without trial have been thrown out. MPs voted by a majority of more than 30 to oppose the Government plans, the first ever Commons defeat for Tony Blair as prime minister.

Plans to hold terror suspects for 90 days without trial have been thrown out by MPs.

The vote in the House of Commons this afternoon went 322 votes to 291, the first time the Government has been defeated since Labour came to power in 1997.

It is a major defeat for Tony Blair, who had repeatedly refused to step away from the 90 day detention, despite strong opposition both from Labour MPs and opposition parties.

Mr Blair had earlier told MPs it was their “duty” to vote in favour of the changes, which he said were backed by the police and the security services.

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But opponents feared long detentions would raise memories of internment and only serve to antagonise disaffected communities, potentially increasing the risk of terrorism rather than reducing it.

Last minute concessions by home secretary Charles Clarke failed to convince MPs to back the law.

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Instead MPs voted in favour of an extension to 28 days, on an amendment put forward by Labour backbencher David Winnick.

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