HOME OFFICE – TERRORISM ARRESTS – 15 January 2003
Dr Julian Lewis: The Home Secretary is undoubtedly correct to say that what has ended as a police tragedy began as a Security Service success, but does he recall a not dissimilar incident that occurred in a prison camp in Afghanistan, when an American interrogator was murdered by someone whom he was interrogating in circumstances in which one would normally have thought that violence was unlikely? Is not one of the lessons that should be drawn from what happened that the mentality of fundamentalist Islamist terrorists is such that they will lash out whenever they can, even if it is to their own obvious disadvantage? Should he not, without prejudging the circumstances of this case, perhaps consider when all those circumstances are known whether guidelines should be issued saying that people who are arrested on suspicion of such terrorist activities should be held in handcuffs until they are removed to a secure environment?
[David Blunkett: I am sure that the lessons of yesterday's incident will be learned and that there will be an evaluation of the process that took place in terms of the unhandcuffing of the individual who committed the act and obtained a knife. At this stage, I think that it would better if we said no more about the incident.]