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Bishop of Durham calls for limits in new terror laws

Rt Revd Paul Butler backed a Labour amendment to the government's proposed Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill that would mean laws to take potential terrorists passports would expire in two years' time.

Under the Tory proposals the police and immigration officers could seize a passport of someone attempting to leave the country and keep it for 14 days, or 30 with a judge's approval.

But the Bishop was joined by several senior legal figures and Tory former Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi in saying that law wasn't appropriate.

Bishop Paul instead wants the bill to be passed but brought back to Parliament in two years to be reconsidered again.

He said 18 months ago parliament would not have "entertained" such powers, but said there had been a "speed of change in the world".

"Because the speed of change that has brought them about demands us to say, we do not wish to forgo the liberties which we have had previously, some of which will be restricted by this Act, without having recourse in two or three years' time to looking seriously at whether or not they are measures that are working," he added.

But the two year limit was not "necessary" said Home Office minister Lord Bates.

He said: "The problem we are seeking to address with these powers is not of a short-term nature.

"We don't know how the threat we are facing might mutate into different fields and different theatres, therefore having a set time and date on which these powers fall would be something that we feel would send the wrong signal.

"Terrorist-related travel is a serious and ongoing issue and we can expect the threat posed by British citizens returning from fighting alongside terrorist groups abroad to be present for many years to come."

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