Freesteel Blog » Dear Louise Ellman MP

Dear Louise Ellman MP

Monday, April 21st, 2008 at 2:16 pm Written by:

Dear Louise Ellman MP,

According to the whip list of Labour MPs obtained by the Sunday Times newspaper on the forthcoming 42 day detention Terrorism vote, your entry is

“Y — Not convinced about Parliamentary involvement”

I have seen you express the view that party MPs are not supposed to rebel even when this goes against the opinion of the people they represent.

Although this appears anti-democratic, we are told that it is not as bad as it looks because MPs express the public opinion behind the closed doors when the party is setting its policy, and then they accept collective responsibility to keep the party politically strong to remain in power.

This is problematic because we have to take you on your word that you are faithfully representing our views at the party level. When evidence leaks out it often suggests a different story.

I have been following the pre-charge detention laws for some time now as the time period first went to 7 days, then to 14, then to 28 — each with an entirely different justification. The 14 day period, for example, according to the Parliamentary debate in 2003, was to give time for certain modern forensic analyses to complete.

The advance to the 90 limit (which was cut by a Labour party rebellion to 28 days) was justified on the basis of the time it would take to analyse the crimes that could be found on encrypted computer disks in the possession of terrorists.

As you know, I am a computer expert, and I — and everyone else in this profession — knows this is baloney. Either the data is generally accessible and floating loose all over the place (like private citizen’s bank details around Whitehall on CDs), or there is only one copy, and standard encryption can’t be cracked in 900 years — and anyway no one who should be encrypting the data (eg terrorists, whitehall civil servants, Labour party whips) does so.

So I am asking you in this letter to please, please, tell me what is your real motivation and explanation for supporting this unprecedented period of detention without charge. I know from this leaked document that you do have an opinion; I don’t want my letter to be forwarded to the minister in charge to obtain their answer as a matter of course. I want to know your, my representative’s, actual opinion on this issue, just so I know and don’t have to guess. I need to know if it’s based on evidence, prejudice, and what it would take to change your mind.

Yours,

Julian Todd

1 Comment

  • 1. Freesteel&hellip replies at 3rd January 2009, 2:07 pm :

    […] Party, like the 90-day detention of suspects without telling them of their crime, or the later 42 day detention proposal, caused chaos. Had they got these through, all the election campaigns would have been: The […]

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