8 Nov 2010

Could it be the end for control orders?

Keep an eye on control orders. They might not be around in their current form for much longer. True, the Home Secretary passed on her worries about ditching them to the PM and DPM. True also, I am told, that the Director General of MI5 said he wanted to keep them.

But listen out for a few subtly placed voices in the coming weeks – former Director General of MI5 Baroness (Eliza) Manningham-Buller could easily be amongst them,  an unnamed security source told The Observer yesterday that opposition wasn’t universal within that world,  saying control orders are more trouble than they are worth.

Listen out also for the dog that doesn’t bark. I would expect high-ranking Lib Dems to keep their heads down in public on this for a while to see if they can create enough “political space” for the PM to do what he always said he wanted to do – drop control orders. But David Cameron must avoid things looking political and the appearance of risks being taken with security for the sake of the Coalition avoiding a “car crash”.

Nothing is cooked yet. Everything depends on how the next few weeks go. But behind the scenes a lot of work is going on to try to make sure that this most potent and toxic policy for Lib Dems is abolished.

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