James Forsyth

Are the coalition in control on Control Orders?

Are the coalition in control on Control Orders?
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Friday's foiled bomb plot is a reminder, if one were needed, that the terrorist threat has not gone away. Inevitably, given the volatile state of the argument about the balance between liberty and security, this incident has become part of the political debate on the issue. Ben Brogan is using it to argue that given the level of threat to this country, David Cameron should call off all the inquiries into whether or not the security services acquiesced in torture.

This plot has also come at a time when the coalition is trying to come to a mutually acceptable position on control orders and how long suspects can be detained without charge. In a magisterial column, Andrew Rawnsley details how David Cameron is worried that the coalition is ‘heading for a f---ing car crash’ on this.

The problem is that the Liberal Democrats are absolutely committed to the abolition of control orders but MI5 wants to keep them and has supposedly persuaded Theresa May of its case. But both Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve are in agreement with the Liberal Democrats on the need to scrap control orders.

I suspect that the coalition will end up replacing control orders. The security case for them is not that strong and the Lib Dems’ political need on this issue is great.