In her article in The Sun on Sunday (May 28) Theresa May criticised Jeremy Corbyn for voting against what she described as: “the laws which governments of all parties have passed to keep us safe.”
One such bill he voted against was the Terrorism Act 2000. When Mrs May became Home Secretary in July 2010, she announced that the suspension the police’s power to stop and search an individual without suspicion under section 44 of that Act.
Her roll-back of section 44 powers was subsequently confirmed in the Government’s Review of Counter-Terrorism and Security Powers, which recognised that change was needed in this area to comply with the Gillan and Quinton judgment, a landmark legal case won by human rights campaign group Liberty before the European Court of Human Rights.
This and the broader framework of anti-terrorism legislation lead to valid concerns about misuse: for example, for almost 10 years all of Greater London was designated as an area in which anyone could be stopped and searched without suspicion.
Liberty points out section 44 powers were used against peaceful protestors on a regular basis, and stressed “The statistics showed that if you’re Black or Asian you were between five and seven times more likely to be stopped under section 44 than if you were White. Yet of the many thousands of people stopped under this power, not one was subsequently convicted of a terrorism offence.” (https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights/justice-and-fair-trials/stop-and-search/section-44-terrorism-act)
Moreover, Mrs May actually voted against Labour 2005 legislation, The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2005/2)
As did Jeremy Corbyn, who explained why thus, explaining to MPs in the debate the third reading of the bill: “Does (he) accept that a criminal court convicted that individual and that the legislation that we are passing will allow people to be restricted or detained on the basis of hearsay evidence through the security services? The defendant will know nothing about it; nor will the public, and therein lies the road to miscarriages of justice.” (Hansard, 10 March 2005: Column 1869; https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmhansrd/vo050310/debtext/50310-59.htm)
So when the prime minister dismisses Mr Corbyn’s concern about some past terrorist legislation, she should be honest enough to admit she shared the very same concerns, and joined Corbyn in the ‘No” lobby against the legislation