David Cameron’s anti-terror plans have come under attack following claims he made the announcement on Monday simply to distract from the news of Conservative MP Douglas Carswell joining UKIP.
Labour MP Ian Austin, who is a member of the House of Commons’s Home Affairs Select Committee, called the measures a “damp squib” and accused the Prime Minister of wanting to create a diversion from his political woes
He told the Daily Mail: “David Cameron used the most apocalyptic language to tell us that we faced a generational struggle against the threat of jihadists to Britain.
“I agree with him. Tackling extremists and extremism to prevent British people becoming terrorists at home and abroad is a huge priority.
“But the measures he announced were a damp squib. They did not amount to much more than tough talking. It looks very much like he was playing politics with security to deflect attention from the problems he is having within his own party.”
One senior Conservative, who has not been named, also said that the policies have been poorly thought-through: “They don’t think, ‘Let’s get a serious set of policies that may solve the problem.’ They think, ‘Let’s brief something that will get rid of this problem for the next 72 hours.’ It is tactical media management, nothing else.”
The comments come as further controversy arises over the British government’s proposals. It is now believed that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is unhappy with plans to forcibly relocation terror suspects away from other militants, and may even veto the proposals.
Counter-terrorism analyst David Anderson also warned there would be legal difficulties in stopping British-born citizens who are fighting for ISIS from returning home. He said: “The whole concept of citizenship is about the right of abode… if you’re going to suspend that, even on a temporary basis, I think you run into some legal difficulties.
“Where does the person go? Do they go back to Syria for a bit more jihad? Do they go and find a beach somewhere in Turkey?
“The trouble with this game of pass the parcel, whether it comes to terrorists or other criminals, is that if other people’s terrorists or criminals find their way to Great Britain, they too could say, ‘Well we wash our hands of these people, we’re not going to let them back, they’re your problem’.”