Ipswich: Send terror suspects to Ipswich, says former Labour cabinet minister Hazel Blears

Prime Minister David Cameron answers questions at a news conference in Downing Street, central Londo

Prime Minister David Cameron answers questions at a news conference in Downing Street, central London. - Credit: PA

Terror suspects could once again be sent to Ipswich under new powers announced by the Prime Minister.

Changes to bolster terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) are being weighed up after the UK terror threat level was raised to “severe” in response to Islamic State activity.

At least three terror suspects were sent to Ipswich and Norwich under control order powers brought in by the last Labour Government, but the relocation powers were abolished in 2012 amid criticism that they were unfair.

Former Labour cabinet minister Hazel Blears, who was responsible for counter terrorism under the last Labour government, called for the powers to be brought back, and said extremists, based in big cities like London, should again be relocated to places like Ipswich to break up the groups.

Terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, who disappeared after fleeing a mosque in a burka, lived near Ipswich for several weeks.

He allegedly breached a Home Office control order on several occasions while he was in the area during 2011.

The suspect, who is believed to have close links to al-Shabab, the Somali insurgent group that raided Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in September, was given a control order in 2011 which forced him to live in the Suffolk, according to evidence from his lawyers submitted in a counter terrorism inquiry.

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In a statement in the House of Commons today Mr Cameron said it was clear “targeted and discretionary” powers were needed.

He said: “We will introduce new powers to add to our existing terrorism prevention and investigation measures including stronger locational constraints on suspects under Tpims either through enhanced use of exclusions zones or through relocation powers.”

He added: “We are clear in principle that what we need is a targeted discretionary power to allow us to exclude British nationals from the UK and we’ll work proposals on this basis with our agencies in line with our international obligations and discuss the details on a cross-party basis.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said control orders had not been acceptable in their previous form.

“It is a very tricky area of law, and one that people are particularly concerned about, not only those who are concerned about liberties, which are important in this country, but also those host communities.

“It is a difficult balancing act. The Prime Minister has made his point and we will have to see what the conclusions of the review are.”

While Labour Candidate for Ipswich David Ellesmere said the Government had been “shortsighted” when it got rid of control orders.

“Now they have come to realise perhaps they should not have done that. They are starting to see they were necessary. It is welcome they are starting to reassess the changes.

But he added: “I would be concerned if Ipswich or any other town became the ‘go-to’ place for re-location orders. This is about disrupting networks and you don’t want networks re-forming in another town.”

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