Massive public support for tough terror controls – poll

By DAVID WOODING

TERRORIST suspects should be put under strict new control orders to curb their movements, Theresa May has been warned.

Most people think the system of monitoring extremists is useless and want Britain’s homeland security beefed up urgently.

Six out of ten are demanding the return of control orders, scrapped in 2011 because they infringed the liberty of suspects.

And they want British Muslims who leave to fight with jihadists in Syria or Iraq placed under house arrest when they return to the UK.

The PM is urged to take a much harder line on home-grown radicals in an exclusive ICM poll for The Sun on Sunday.

Brits gave Mrs May a powerful message of support for almost any action to protect keep the country safe – even if it hits their own civil liberties.

The majority of people believe human rights laws are too heavily tilted in favour of terrorists and criminals and not the public they are meant to protect.

Seven out of ten believe security services should be given more power to spy on people – by checking phone, internet and email data.

An overwhelming 72 per cent believe snooping is justified, even if it erodes civil liberties. They outnumber those opposed to it by a massive eight to one.

Two-thirds of people are in favour of companies being compelled to give up encrypted mobile phone data to spy chiefs. They believe this would disrupt terrorists using phone apps to plot their atrocities without being detected.

Tory MP Tim Loughton, who sits on the Commons home affairs committee, said last night: “This poll shows just how much the whole argument around terrorism and civil liberties has moved on.

“People are now overwhelmingly more concerned about keeping our country safe in the wake of recent atrocities on the continent.

“If that means giving up some of our civil liberties, it’s a price that many people feel is worth paying.”

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Support for more draconian action against extremists has grown in the wake of recent atrocities in Nice and Paris.

And our poll suggest they Mrs May would boost her no-nonsense image if she were to bring back control orders.

The tool was used to put suspects under house arrest, restrict where they travel, who they meet and stop them using the internet or smart phones.

But they were ditched by the coalition government after protests from Lib Dem deputy leader Nick Clegg that they breached human rights.

They were replaced by weaker Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, known as T-Pims.

But only one terrorist in Britain is subject to the order – and he is using taxpayers’ money to fight a legal battle to have it lifted.

This is despite there being at least 2,000 fanatics at large in Britain, The Sun on Sunday revealed last week.

More than half of people – 58 per cent – think that terror suspects restricted by any court order should be banned from claiming legal aid to fight it, our poll reveals.

Some 41 per cent believe human rights laws give most protection to criminals and those engaged in the planning of terrorist acts. This compares with only 33 per cent who think they safeguard the public and victims of crime and terrorism.

The T-Pim order – the toughest tool at the disposal of security services – is seen as ineffective by most people.

And 63 per cent would support the return of the more restrictive control order – ten times the number who would oppose it.

Even among young people – more guarded about civil liberties – there is overwhelming support for it.

Fifty per cent of people aged 18 to 24 support control orders, compared with 13 per cent in the same age bracket who oppose them.

A similar number, 62 per cent, say all British subjects who chose to fight in support of IS in war zones such as Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan should automatically be subject to orders on their return.

Mr Loughton said the poll highlights a changing mood in the general public in response to the heightened terrorist threat.

The MP added: “We are only too aware of the enemy beyond the Channel but we now need to define the way we deal with the enemy within.

“That must mean better surveillance and anybody who has been to war zones such as Syria should be more strictly monitored. This is a wake-up call.

“Despite the fantastic work our intelligence and security services do to keep us safe, the law needs to be toughened to make sure the terrorist menace does not get across the Channel to wreak havoc with the every-day freedoms we often take for granted.”

Seven in ten would support restrictions on their OWN freedom of movement around the EU if it made it harder for terrorists to operate freely.

One in four believes Britain will be safer once we have left the EU – but nearly half think it will make no difference.

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New Sneers Honours

By DAVID WOODING
IT’S been a year when the people of Britain have stuck a collective two fingers up to MPs.
Voters have used the ballot box to take their revenge on politicians of all varieties, whom many see as out of touch.
But some MPs and peers  haven’t learned a thing as they hurl insults, throw tantrums and sneer at ordinary people.
So in an irreverent, but light-hearted, look back at the past year in Parliament, here are my New Sneer’s Honours.
Sneer of the Realm: Labour’s Emily Thornberry who scoffed at a house with three England flags and a white van outside. She resigned as shadow attorney general hours after tweeting a picture of them hours before the Rochester by-election result.
Life sneerage: Fouled-mouthed Tory Andrew Mitchell fought a £3 million, two-year legal after denying he called cops “plebs” when they refused to let him ride his bike through the Downing Street main gates. A High Court judge sided with the cops and told the snobbish ex-Chief Whip: “On yer bike.”
Cabbie-net Minister of the Year: David Mellor berated a taxi driver who suggested a quicker route, calling him a “a smart-arsed little b*****d” and telling him: “Shut up you sweaty little git.” The Tory ex-minister added: “I’ve been in the Cabinet, I’m an award-winning broadcaster, I’m a Queen’s counsel.” He was forced to apologise after cabbies threatened to ban him. I’d like to see how long he waits next time he wants to hail a taxi.
Sneer of the Year: Tory MP Mark Garnier for telling his party not to bother with “dog-end voters” who live in “outlying regions”. Suspect he’ll soon be at the dog-end of his political career.
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Emily Thornberry and the twitpic that cost her her job.

Yes, Yes, Yes Minister: Deputy PM’s wife Miriam Clegg wins the honesty award for saying “women have been faking it for years”. But has she told husband Nick?
Snooze-Night TV Award: David Cameron, who admitted he often dozes off on the sofa when he has a night in front of the telly with wife Sam. The PM said: “Half an hour of Silent witness and we’re both asleep.” At least Sam doesn’t have to fake it.
The “Three minutes is a long time in politics” Award: Tory chief whip Michael Gove was nominated by his gossipy wife Sarah Vine. When told that men burn 4.2 calories a minute during sex, she quipped: “Wow! That’s 12.6 calories a session.”
Big Benn Clanger of the Year: Diane Abbott for live tweeting from inside church at Tony Benn’s funeral. An angry admirer of the Labour legend (that’s Benn, not Abbott) raged: “Why not go the whole hog and do a selfie with the coffin?”
The Prat that got the Queen: The royal claws were out for David Cameron after he claimed Her Majesty “purred” with pleasure when he phoned her the No vote in the Scottish independence referendum.
OBE – ‘Orrible Butty Eater: Ed Miliband, who bit off more than he could chew when he tried to battle his way through a bacon sandwich. The sarnie won.
The Gillette Award for Sharpest Political Putdown: Louise Mensch after MP’s wife Karen Danczuk posted saucy cleavage selfies on Twitter: “Put them away, love. Frankly, I’d rather see Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich.”
Karen Danczuk gives yours truly a lesson in how to take a selfie.

Karen Danczuk gives yours truly a lesson in how to take a selfie.

Gold Medal for Selfie-Exposure: Charities Minister Brooks Newmark resigned after sending explicit photographs of himself to an undercover reporter. The nation was appalled at his bad taste. Surely, no self-respecting MP would be seen dead hanging out of paisley pyjamas.
Class Warrior of the Year: Singer Myleene Klass for ripping Ed Miliband to shreds on TV over his planned mansion tax. “You can’t just point at something and say let’s tax it,” she stormed. “You might as well tax this glass of water.”
Worst political U-turn: Ed Balls, who was investigated by cops after hitting a parked car while doing a seven-point turn in a narrow street then driving off. It’s not the first time the shadow chancellor has found himself in a tight spot.
The Jack Horner Award for Women’s Rights: Nigel Farage, who infuriated mums by telling them to breastfeed in the corner of cafes and restaurants where nobody could see them.
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Exposed: My story about Brooks Newmark.

Feminist of the Year: Sports Minister Helen Grant for her efforts to get more women involved in physical activity with these fine words of advice: “There are some wonderful sports you can do and look absolutely radiant and very feminine. Ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading and even roller-skating.”
Overseas Aid Champion: Harriet Harman who wore a T-shirt with the slogan “This is what a feminist looks like”. Her selfless act helped to boost employment in Mauritius, where women were paid 62p an hour to work in a sweatshop making the garments.
House of Lards Pin-up of the Year: Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has been bombarded with demands for signed photographs from young girls in Russia. A puzzled aide admitted: “I’ve no idea why Eric is so big over there.”
Cockup of the Year: Communities Minister Penny Mordaunt for using the word “cock” six times and “lay” or “laid” five times during a Commons speech on poultry welfare. But she later let slip it was part of a smutty dare from Royal Navy officer friends.

Twerking twerp of the year: David Cameron for twerking at an Ibiza-style rave he hosted at Chequers to celebrate his wife Samantha’s 40th birthday – after branding top twerker Miley Cyrus a bad role model for kids.

Pint of Order: George “We’re all in this together” Osborne, for keeping a padlock on his office fridge to stop staff raiding his milk. Well, at least he’s miserly with the rest of us, too.
Rocky Belt for Parliamentary Punch-ups: SNP chief Alex Salmond and Labour’s Alistair Darling who squared up in live TV debates over Scots independence. Two Scottish men shouting at each other and they didn’t have the decency to do it in a Glasgow pub.
Resignation of the Year: Home Office minister Norman Baker quits, saying that working there was like “walking through mud”. Think how your boss, Theresa May copes, Norman. She does it wearing kitten heels.

 

Playing Qat and mouse

By DAVID WOODING
HATE preacher Abu Qatada must be the only man in Britain who isn’t feeling the pinch.
While our schools, police, and brave armed forces face swingeing cuts, spending on the terror suspect just seems to go up and up.
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It’s bad enough that he is using human rights laws to stay in a country he despises.
But hard-working families struggling to make ends meet will be sickened to learn that last month this unwanted guest was costing them £5,058 A DAY.
The bill for legal aid, security, housing and benefits is expected to top £6 million this year alone.
That’s enough to pay for an extra 283 nurses, 347 rookie soldiers or 263 teachers.
Qatada (pictured above),  a Bin Laden stooge and inspiration for the 9/11 hijackers, is using every trick in the legal handbook to dodge deportation.
To make matters worse, soft-touch European judges seem determined to let him.
Barmy
Home Secretary Theresa May must be tearing her hair out in despair at how to get rid of him.
Even that is costing us, as government lawyers run up a £600,000 bill in their hopeless quest to find common sense in the barmy human rights laws that allow him to stay.
He’s been playing Qat and mouse with the the authorities for 12 years.
Let’s hope 2013 is the year we finally get rid of him.
Then we can end this costly madness once and for all.

If crime levels are down, why are detection rates down, too?

By DAVID WOODING
THERE was some scepticism when new figures out last week showed that crime is down.
Some accused police of cooking the books and others claimed victims had given up reporting burglaries, fearing they’d never be investigated.
Now add this into the mix. Even with fewer offences to investigate, police are solving even fewer crimes.
New figures show that detection rates fell for the first time in over a decade last year – with 30,000 fewer crimes solved.
Just one in four offences committed in England and Wales was cleared up in the year to April 2012.
It means 2.9 million crimes went unpunished – despite new stats which show law-breaking is DOWN.
Cops say slump in arrests is down to swingeing cuts in their budgets imposed by the government.
220px-Theresa_May_-_Home_Secretary_and_minister_for_women_and_equalityAbout 9,000 police jobs have been axed under money saving measures since the coalition won power – and there’s more to come.
North Wales police, who cut the force strength last year by 39 to 1,488, now solve just three in ten case, compared with four in ten before the cuts.
In Warwickshire, where 260 officers were lost, an extra 2,063 crimes went unsolved.
Home Secretary Theresa May (pictured left) has insisted police forces can cut costs without affecting frontline crime-fighting.
She has told chief constables to make “back office” saving, which would mean MORE bobbies visible on the streets.
A Sun investigation last month suggested officers are still spending too much time behind a desk.  There’s something odd about all these figures. If there’s less crime,  you’d think police had more time to investigate those that do occur. If it’s down to cuts, you’d expect crime levels to go up.
Official figures out last week showed overall crime plunged eight per cent in England and Wales.
They led to accusations that senior cops were exaggerating the statistics.
Simon Payne, chairman of Warwickshire Police Federation, said: “We want to go out there, preventing crime and catching criminals.
“But with police stations being closed and fewer officers in our ranks that’s becoming extremely difficult.”
Labour claimed the figures would fuel concerns about the government’s “deeply complacent” attitude to policing.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, who analysed the stats, said: “Fewer crimes are being solved, fewer criminals caught and fewer victims are getting justice.
“Theresa May has cut 15,000 police officers and done nothing to help improve the performance of the police in catching criminals and solving crime.
“The reduction in violence against the person offences being solved is particularly worrying.
Distorted
“These are serious crimes that can ruin people’s lives and harm communities, yet 7,000 fewer are being solved under this Government.
“Tory policing policy isn’t working. Theresa May needs to look again urgently at how her cuts to policing and chaotic reforms are hitting the work to catch criminals and deliver justice.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “Police reform is working and crime is falling under this Government, down eight per cent in the year ending September 2012, according to the latest independent Crime Survey.
“Many forces are achieving significant reductions in crime with reduced budgets and crime is at its lowest level since the survey began in 1981.
“When the last government prioritised detection rates and set targets for offences brought to justice, it simply distorted police priorities which is why these targets were scrapped. By cutting bureaucracy we’ve allowed forces to get officers back out on the front line.
“And we have put in place Police and Crime Commissioners who are representing the needs of their community and holding their police force to account.”

Cameron to take sex out of marriage

By DAVID WOODING
SEX is to be taken out of marriage law – so gay couples can tie the knot.
Ministers plan to solve a legal wrangle by ditching the historic requirment for newlyweds to consummate their union.
The rules say a marriage is not complete until a man and wife have “ordinary and complete” intercourse.
But the detailed description of what that means would make it impossible for gay and lesbian couples to fulfil their vows.
I’m not going to go into the precise wording of what consummation means by law for fear of readers crying “Too much information.” But suffice to say the coalition is considering a re-write of a key section of the Matrimonial Causes Act.
It would end the right to annul a marriage on the grounds of non-consummation.
Last night a furious MP claimed it would reduce marriage to the level of a civil partnership – an option already available to gay people.
Tory Edward Leigh accused Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone diminishing the meaning of wedlock for everyone.
He said: “If the government presses ahead with the redefinition of marriage, it will have profound effects on the ability of individuals to have a marriage annulled.
“This is something that is particularly important to Catholics for whom annulment is permitted by the church, but divorce is not.”
Ministers have been forced to consider dropping consummation so the law applies equally to straight and same-sex couples.
Rash
But in a letter to Ms Featherstone, Mr Leigh warns the legislation is complex and cannot be changed “at the stroke of a pen”.
And he warned of a rash of legal challenges if the need to consummate a marriage is removed.
“In legal terms, this would mean a couple are married the moment they complete either a civil or religious marriage ceremony,” he said.
“This would diminish marriage to the level of a legal contract and remove any link between marriage and children – or indeed between marriage and physical intimacy.
“This would constitute an unprecedented assault on the deeply-held beliefs of those who say a marriage is not complete until the act of consummation.
“It would fly in the face of assurances that this change would only affect marriages solemnised by a civil wedding since all marriages would be affected by this change.”

Queens
It is the latest legal controversy to engulf plans to allow gays and lesbians equal marriage rights.
Ministers have been warned they may need to re-write the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.
It does not allow same-sex marriages and a change would be needed to allow two Queens or two Kings on the throne.
Gay marriage has caused a massive split in Tory ranks – despite PM David Cameron promising MPs a free vote.
Home Secretary Theresa May last week became the most senior minister to back marriages for all.
She said she was a strong supporter of marriage and it should be available to everyone regardless of sexual orientation.
But fellow Cabinet minister Owen Paterson is the most senior Tory MP to oppose the idea.

Justice for the 96 Hillsborough disaster victims is a step closer

By DAVID WOODING

IN the end, it didn’t even need a vote.

After 22  tireless years of fighting for justice, the families of 96 fans killed in Britain’s worst football disaster finally got their way without a murmur of opposition.

In a long-overdue debate, MPs agreed to the full release of documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster.

Hillsborough Memorial and eternal flame at Anfield

The historic decision means the grieving relatives – many of them in the public gallery of the Commons tonight – have cleared a final obstacle in their hard and lonely struggle to find the truth.

The debate was triggered when more than 139,000 people signed a government e-petition demanding uncensored publication of 40,000 papers relating to the disaster and its aftermath.

But there was no need for a vote after Home Secretary Theresa May apologized for the anxiety caused to fans in the past and vowed to put everything into the open.

She revealed that all documents had been handed to an independent panel set up by her predecessor Alan Johnson in the last Labour government .

Mrs May told MPs: “I shall do everything in my power to ensure that the families and the public get the truth.

“No government papers will be withheld from the panel, no attempts to suppress publication will be made, no stone will be left unturned.”

Merseyside Labour MP Steve Rotheram, who was at the ill-fated match as a fan, took six minutes to read out the names of all 96 victims to a hushed Commons chamber. When he had finished, MPs and those in the public gallery burst into applause – rarely heard in the chamber.

Pat Joynes, who lost her son Nicholas, 27, in the pre-match crush before the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, was among those who travelled to the Commons to hear him.

Caged

She said: “Twenty-two years is a long time to wait to find out the truth about what happened to our loved ones.

“I am hoping Nicholas and the others are looking down on us and the spirit of the 96 is with us as we hear the debate.”

Ninety-five Liverpool fans were crushed to death in caged pens in the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium as crowds were still arriving for the match.

The 96th victim, Tony Bland, was in a coma for three years after the match and died in 1992.

In the immediate aftermath, police “sources” claimed the tragedy was caused by drunken Liverpool fans whom they say arrived late for the match.

A carpet of flowers near the Kop goal at Anfield on the day after the tragedy.

While the allegations were discounted at an inquiry led by Lord Justice Taylor, the slur has dogged the club for years.

The long-awaited release of these documents will finally reveal the original source of these vile stories – and why they were given so much credence.

It is also hoped they will disclose what the government of the day was told about the disaster and how journalists were briefed.

The families, the club and their fans will never forget that awful afternoon. It is etched into the very fabric of Liverpool FC, with an eternal flame flickering outside the Shankly Gates.

But perhaps the release of these papers, which is expected next year, will help them find closure.

And allow the 96 to rest in peace.

Follow me on Twitter: @davidwooding

Theresa’s got her claws out for boss cat Ken

By DAVID WOODING in Manchester

KITTEN-heeled Theresa May got in a right cat flap with Cabinet colleague Ken Clarke today – over the Human Rights Act.

The Home Secretary had her claws out after he poured scorn on her claim that an illegal immigrant dodged a deportation order to look after his pet pussy.

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Home Secretary Theresa May chats to David Wooding in her office.

Mrs May had seized on the story to highlight her opposition to the controversial laws in a speech to the Tory conference in Manchester.

She won a standing ovation when she told of “the illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I’m not making this up – he had a pet cat.”

But moments later, Cabinet top cat Mr Clarke stamped all over her claim with his size 11 Hush Puppies by claiming she had over-hyped the story.

The Justice Secretary declared: “I will have a small bet with her that nobody has ever been refused deportation on the grounds of a cat.

“I’ve never had a conversation on the subject with Theresa, so I’d have to find out about these strange cases she is throwing out. I cannot believe anybody has ever had deportation refused on the basis of owning a cat.”

He later quipped: “I heard Theresa refer to it and I sat there with a Victor Meldrew reaction. I thought… I can’t believe it.”

Mrs May was privately furious at the cat-astrophic intervention by Mr Clarke, who’s had a ban run of his own over his “soft” stance on prison sentences.

It was the fist Cabinet bust-up since the rally opened on Sunday and tonight both sides were hurling details of the case at each other to defend their corner.

A Home Office source said the case highlighted how illegal immigrants were taking the Act to extremes by exploiting the section which gives them a right to a family life.

Claws out: Ken Clarke

Mr Clarke, who is due to receive a recort on the European Convention on Human Rights,  said the Home Secretary had failed to consult him before making her remarks.

He said: “When I found out what these examples are that have upset her, I will probably find that she agrees with me. It is these daft misinterpretations of the Act which are giving the whole thing a bad reputation, when we should be a force in favour of human rights and individual liberty in the modern world, not in any way resiling from it.”

Follow me on Twitter: @davidwooding