Peter Hoskin

The divide over the Guantanamo settlements

The divide over the Guantanamo settlements
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After being pre-empted by the morning newspapers, Ken Clarke's statement this afternoon contained nothing that was unexpected. "We've paid the money so we can move on," he said. And he went on to emphasise that the Guantanamo payouts are not an admission of culpability, but rather all about sparing the public's money and the spooks' time.

More striking were some of the responses from Clarke's coalition stablemates. Take Tom Brake, the Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington, who suggested that the government wouldn't have made the payments if the UK didn't have a case to answer. Or Andrew Tyrie, who claimed that this underlines "a period of what appears to be complicity in kidnap and torture" – confirming, as it happens, his own status as one of the most assertive Tory backbenchers in town.

Stir in the background debate over control orders, and signs are that anti-terror policy could be an especially delicate sore point for the coalition.