The Picture of Tony Blair


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Blair: Britain is facing 'death on unlimited scale'
Campaigners: It's just a scare story for new law

From Daily Mirror, Friday 28 January, 2005. By Bob Roberts Deputy Political Editor

TONY Blair was yesterday accused of using scare tactics to justify draconian new anti- terror laws. He was slammed after warning that extremists are planning attacks on the UK which would bring "death and destruction on an unlimited scale". The PM said it was important for people to appreciate the full extent of the threat.

But civil rights groups claimed he was "playing up" the danger to make it easier to push through controversial new powers. Speaking as he left a meeting of world leaders in Switzerland, Mr Blair said: "I pay great attention to civil liberties." But on the other hand there is a new form of global terrorism in our country. "They (the terrorists) will cause death and destruction on an unlimited scale and they will - and are - trying to organise such terrorist activity in our own country. I just hope people get this in perspective." Under proposals unveiled by Home Secretary Charles Clarke earlier this week, terror suspects - including British citizens - could be held without trial under house arrest, tagged, or forced to obey a curfew.

Mr Blair said the measures would only apply in a "very limited set of circumstances where our security services are advising us these people are a genuine risk to the security of our country". He added: "It will not apply to anything other than a handful of people. It is important that we put the security of the country first." But civil rights group Liberty claims the Government is deliberately exaggerating the threat. Spokesman Doug Jewell said: "We have a real fear it is being used to introduce legislation which will do more harm than good." "Any response has to be proportionate. If we have learned anything over the last 20 years, it is that imprisoning innocent people only creates problems."

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