The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I think what I would prefer to do, rather than get into the detail of 28, 42, 90 and so on, is to take you again to part of my book where we were discussing with the Prime Minister, at a regular meeting of the cabinet, bits of the cabinet, with the police and the security services, about counter-terrorism, and it was the day after the Prime Minister had lost the vote over 90 days, and the issue was, as I say in my statement, that we were facing a level of terrorist threat which we had never seen before, and that we believed that we were trying to deal with this with some relatively outdated legislation, and one of our concerns was that because -- and I think Peter Clarke said this the other day -- because the level of threat, the level of threat and atrocity was so appalloing, we had to move in faster than we would have liked.

The classic position on this is the operation in relation to the airliners plot. Had seven or eight airliners blown up over the Atlantic -- I mean, this was Britain's 9/11, to say the least -- but we got ourselves into a place where we had to go and arrest a lot of people much earlier than we wanted to because we couldn't dare to let it run any further, and that left us with a position of trying to sort the wheat from the chaff, having to deal with languages, having to deal with encrypted computers, and we just believed after lengthy discussion that what was necessary was a series of seven-day rolling detention periods and there had to be some maximum of that before it became internment without trial.

That was the discussion that we had and we backed the ACPO position, which I think at that stage was to say the maximum had to be 90 days, and that was where I expected my colleagues either to agree with or to remain silent.

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