Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Nick Clegg: No agreement on TPIM measures is not an argument

Nick Clegg had a stab at being René Magritte on the Today programme this morning, telling us that a disagreement between the two coalition parties over anti-terror measures that were sort-of announced yesterday was ‘not some argument between two political parties’. It was clear from the way the Deputy Prime Minister described the additional measures for TPIMs that the Lib Dems accepted David Anderson’s demand that the government do more, but that only the first option, the expansion of exclusion zones, is something that will wash. Relocation powers, the key power removed from control orders when the Coalition scrapped them, would prove far more controversial, even though the Tories are clearly happy to keep an open mind on introducing these if necessary. Clegg said:

‘Moving people against their will from one part of the country to another when you cant prosecute in court is of course a big step. And that’s why we’re looking within government to see whether you can maximise and build upon existing powers in TPIMs which is all about excluding people from particular areas, but there’s no debate or dispute about the central observation that David Anderson has made, which is that TPIMs, to be effective, we need in one way or another, to do more to disrupt the patterns of association that people subject to TPIMs have with other individuals.’

Elsewhere the two parties are both trying to work out what they could do that is legal to stop people returning. ‘At the moment it is not obvious what we can do that is consistent with our legal obligations,’ Clegg said.

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