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UK Labour government accused of using police to lobby for anti-terror bill

[JURIST] The UK Labour Party government was accused Thursday of compromising the neutrality of the police force by asking them to support an anti-terrorism provision authorizing the detention of terror suspects without charge for up to 90 days, a proposal which was defeated [JURIST report] in the House of Commons [official website] earlier this week. The London Metropolitan Police Authority [official website] expressed support for the measure last month by sending a letter [text] to Clarke, but senior members of the Conservative party said UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour party also asked the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) for support to make the government's case. The request came from UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke [official profile], who Thursday accepted blame for the anti-terror provision's defeat [JURIST report], after he realized that the MPs were leaning toward voting against the measure. Conservative chief whip David Maclean [official website] said he is investigating the matter and has asked Tory MPs to submit details of letters, e-mails and phone calls that they received from chief constables asking them to vote in favor of the proposal. From the UK, the Telegraph has local coverage.

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