Over 600 held under terror act at Labour conference

MORE than 600 people were detained under the Terrorism Act during the Labour party conference, it was reported yesterday.

Anti-Iraq war protesters, anti-Blairite OAPs and conference delegates were all detained by police under legislation that was designed to combat violent fanatics and bombers - even though none of them was suspected of terrorist links. None of those detained under Section 44 stop-and-search rules in the 2000 Terrorism Act was arrested and no-one was charged under the terrorism laws.

Walter Wolfgang, an 82-year-old Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, was thrown out of the conference hall by Labour heavies after heckling the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

When he tried to get back in, he was detained under Section 44 and questioned by police. The party later apologised.

But the Home Office has refused to apologise for heavy-handed tactics used at this year's conference.

A spokesman insisted: "Stop and search under Section 44 is an important tool in the on-going fight against terrorism.

"The powers help to deter terrorist activity by creating a hostile environment for terrorists."

He added that the justification for authorising the use of the powers was "intelligence-led and based on an assessment of the threat against the UK."

The shadow home secretary, David Davis, said: "Laws that are designed to fight terrorism should only be used against terrorism."

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