Exclusive: David Davis wants 28 days detention reduced to 4

6:33 pm - February 28th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    

      Share on Tumblr

Tory MP David Davis gave an excellent speech at the end of the Convention on Modern Liberty. Just read it when it goes online. I asked him afterwards to confirm a point he had made to me a few weeks earlier. He says he would ideally like to see the pre-charge detention period, which the government recently attempted to increase to 42 days, to be reduced to 4 days. Wow.

He prefaced his point by saying that the Americans had a pre-charge detention period of 48 hours. This is because authorities are allowed to use intercept evidence. Davis said if authorities in the UK are allowed to use intercept evidence, there’s no reason why pre-charge detention should be more than four days. I’m impressed.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  

About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by

Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Reader comments

I’ve always wondered how many people know about America’s relatively short period for pre-charge detention. That was one liberty the Patriot Act didn’t mess with.

Well, I’m obviously pleased about this and await more details, but it’s a bit of an about turn isn’t it?


Was he not aware, 9 months ago, of, among other things, the position in the US?

t is time the UK explained why intercept evidence here is unacceptable yet acceptable in the USA. This has the hallmark of bureaucratic covenience rather than an issue of national security.

Well, I suppose a guy is allowed to change his mind. And he has! If only the other Tories now followed suit.

5. Shatterface

Typical of the British left, always mocking Americans and their short attention spans.

Oh, sorry, misread that.

Yes, the Americans have a shorter detention span, but that’s 48 hours with Jack Bauer – I’d rather have the 42 days!

I’d love to meet the David Davis of the “Davis agenda”, the rogue liberal at the heart of the Conservatives. When I interviewed him 4 years ago before the leadership elections he was a decidedly amorphous and shady character, a bit like the Michael Howard prot├ęge we all saw in him…

Ironically I believe the gov’t stock response to using intercept evidence was a “civil liberties” concern as it endangers the privacy of innocent people and implies that they spy on us more than we think they do. They certainly know how to spin a good circle when they see it


Was he not aware, 9 months ago, of, among other things, the position in the US?

I asked him this very question at his interview in the Freedom Zone at the Tory Conference at the end of last year. His answer was two-fold:

1) He talked to some police officers and they had maintained that they were right up against the (then) 14 day limit. Having had more time to talk to others, he now feels that 28 days is way too long.

2) He cited “real politik”. In other words, given the mood of the House, they were not going to be able to keep the detention to 14 days. He chose 28 days as a compromise: not as bad as 90 days, but enough to allay the panic.

Whether you believe him or not is up to you: I am inclined to do so.

My live-blog from the event is here….


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    New blog post: Exclusive: David Davis wants 28 days detention reduced to 4 http://tinyurl.com/badgnp

  2. We have to accept that society and life carries risk « Various Philosophies of Cynicism

    […] as the right to peaceful assembly, to freedom of association, to freedom from discrimination, to freedom from detention without trail, to trial by jury, to privacy and to freedom of expression. 2. Subject executive powers and […]

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.