Home Secretary John Reid in the Commons today
THREE men on the run after breaching anti-terrorism control orders wanted to wage jihad against the West.
Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism laws, said there is "solid intelligence" that the trio were a danger to British troops stationed abroad.
He said: "These three men were the subject of solid intelligence that they intended to damage our national security by going as insurgents to kill British and other allied troops abroad."
It emerged earlier today that the suspects, who were held under "control orders", had absconded this week.
Lamine Adam and Cerie Bullivant
Scotland Yard named Lamine Adam, 26, his brother Ibrahim, 20, and Cerie Bullivant, 24, last night after they failed to report to police.
Police said the men, two of whom are brothers of a man jailed last month for plotting al Qaeda-inspired bomb attacks across Britain, had violated anti-terrorism "control orders" and failed to check in with authorities last week.
They intended to damage our national security by going as insurgents to kill British and other allied troops abroad Lord Carlile The announcement, following the disappearances of at least two other suspects last year, means that more than a quarter of those subject to the controversial orders -- imposed on suspects who are not charged with a crime -- are now missing.
Under control orders suspects are frequently confined to their homes for much of the day, required to wear electronic tags, obliged to check in with police, forbidden to use computers or telephones and banned from meeting people without permission.
Political pressure mounted on Home Secretary John Reid as opposition members called for an urgent review of the control order system.
Mr Reid said there was no threat to the public and promised that new anti-terror measures would be brought forward.
He called for "less party politics" and more concern "for national security".
Shadow home secretary David Davis said the news was “shocking” and said that Home Secretary John Reid had failed in his duty to protect the public. He said: “People are placed on control orders on the basis they are terror suspects who pose a serious risk to the public.”
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg called for a “wholesale review” of the Government’s strategy. “This is yet another hammer blow for the increasingly discredited system of control orders,” he said..
Answering an emergency Commons question on the three missing terror suspects, Mr Reid admitted the current control order framework was not “even the second best option” in tackling terrorism and there was nothing to stop a determined individual from absconding.
He said the police and the Government were doing “absolutely everything we can” to trace the three, and new proposals to strengthen the control order system would be put before Parliament in the next few weeks. Reid said their orders had been designed to prevent overseas travel because the men were thought to want to carry out terrorism abroad.
They had been required to surrender travel documents and report to a police station every day, but had failed to turn up on Tuesday, he said. “It is believed that these individuals wanted to travel abroad for terrorism-related purposes.
They are not considered at this time to represent a direct threat to the public in the UK. “The control orders were therefore designed to prevent travel.” “As I have consistently made clear, control orders are far from 100% effective, but under our existing laws they are as far as we can go,” he went on.
“Unfortunately, within these limits, it is difficult to prevent determined individuals from absconding.
Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed that control orders were not a strong method for protecting the public from terror suspects but insisted they were the best option available.
Speaking at a news conference in Downing Street, the Prime Minister said control orders were by nature difficult to enforce. He said: “They are not a strong method of keeping people under control. “They are the best we can do however within the legislation that exists.
“If we are going to tackle this terror threat with the seriousness it needs, we need the tough measures necessary to protect this country fully.
“Control orders are very much a second best option.”