Terrorism measures

FOR many people the work of Parliament can sometimes feel like it has little relevance to their own lives.
This week however the business of the House of Commons affected every person in the country.
The measures in the Government’s Terrorism Bill have understandably attracted controversy.
None of us want to see a reduction in civil liberties, so a careful balance has to be struck.

In Wales there used to be an assumption that we wouldn’t be likely victims of terrorism because the IRA would not attack a Celtic country.
However developments in our own back yard remind us that the new form of suicide terrorism we face goes after soft targets, and that we are as vulnerable as any English city.

The main controversy was over whether or not the police should be allowed to detain terrorist suspects for up to a maximum of 90 days.
In order to reassure those concerned that this could be misused by the authorities the Government proposed a “sunset clause” to ensure that the Bill would be reviewed by the Commons in twelve months time.

We should not automatically do whatever the Police wish on these issues, otherwise there would be no point in having Parliament.
However our duty as politicians should be to take very seriously proposals for powers the police say are necessary to protect the public.

No-one will understand if an attack comes because parliament has rejected such a request, but we must always balance such powers with the kind of oversight by a judge that the government proposed.

Parliament can not afford to get this decision wrong.