The British government (the Brown administration) wants to hold people for up to 42 days without charging them with a crime. A number of people in the House of Lords are openly objecting to what would be a serious degradation of civil liberties. The 42-days could easily be used to punish the political opposition regardless of whether or not that opposition might otherwise be considered the loyal opposition. The 42-day period is ripe for abuse. Just think about the negative impact upon one's life, family, business, employer, reputation, etc., if that one is held for 42 days while being completely innocent and while being afforded zero due process of law (no judicial oversight). The government would need to demonstrate nothing in order to incarcerate citizens and visitors alike. If they don't like what you are saying, they could punish you by holding you 42 days regardless of whether or not what you are saying is correct or ought to be protected political speech.
Some of those in the House of Lords who have publicly come out against this plan include the following:
Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, has said, "I have weighed up the balance between the right to life – the most important civil liberty – the fact that there is no such thing as complete security, and the importance of our hard-won civil liberties. Therefore, on a matter of principle, I cannot support 42 days' pre-charge detention. I do understand different views and that there are judgments honestly reached by others, and I respect these views."
Lord Falconer, former lord chancellor, said, "I'm absolutely clear that there is no advantage to fighting terrorism that will be gained by extending pre-charge detention to 42 days." "We in this country determine whether people should be detained on the basis of a judge's view. I find it worrying that someone could be detained in prison on the basis of a deal done with another political party."
Lord Goldsmith, former attorney general, said, "...you cannot keep somebody for as long as it takes." "I dealt with the plots which we believed were being uncovered in the summer of 2006. I flew back from my holiday. I stayed with the prosecutors and got detailed briefings through that period. I was anxiously considering and wanting to know whether a longer time was necessary. It wasn't. I asked the prosecutors, 'If you had had longer than 28 days, would you have used it?' 'No', they said. I cannot support this. I believe that detention without charge for a long period would undermine fundamental freedoms on which this country is based, of which this country should be proud, of which I will say my party ought to be proud. I will not undermine them in this way."
"Former head of MI5 says 42-day detention plan is 'unworkable'," by Ben Russell. Independent.co.uk. Wednesday, 9 July 2008.