In a couple of weeks time Gordon Brown is going to face yet another challenge to his authority in the Commons over his desire to increase detention without trial to 42 days. According to report in the Times he is also ready to offer concessions to his backbenchers to try to avert a disaster.
The thing is, one of this apparent concessions will be 'the need for a parliamentary vote approving the use of detentions powers within in a week of their first use and making their operation subject to judicial review'. Now I might be wrong on this, but if you say that Parliament has to approve their use does that not imply some sort of open debate about an ongoing investigation and case, and will that not therefore undermine any potential trial?
After all, if MPs have to vote to approve the power use they will also have to know the full details of the case in order to make the decision, which would put details in the public domain. What's more, what sort of vote would it be even if they surmounted any potential prejudgment of a case? It would surely have to be a free vote, as you can't whip MPs on something like this right?
To be honest, the concessions look more like panicked desperation. He doesn't want to have to climbdown for the Nth time, so he's offering concessions that I can't imagine working in a Parliament which is meant to be transparent by holding open debate.