Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, commenting on reports surrounding the detention of David Miranda, said:
“If the White House knew about the decision to detain David Miranda at Heathrow, surely the Home Secretary knew too?
“It isn't good enough for the Home Office to dismiss this as a matter for the police. The White House have made clear it was 'a decision by the British Government' and the police have said it was a 'detailed decision making process... reviewed throughout.'
“Given the sensitivity of this operation and the continued questions about the use of terrorism legislation in this case, Theresa May cannot simply refer this to the police.
“The Home Secretary needs to tell us whether she or the Prime Minister were informed or involved in this decision. Is it really possible that the American President was told what was happening but the British Prime Minister wasn't? The Government need to explain who authorised the use of terrorism legislation in this case and what the justification was.
“The purpose of schedule 7 is to find out whether someone is engaged in terrorist activity. The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson, has previously warned about the importance of using schedule 7 proportionately. There are serious questions about how the nine hour detention of David Miranda could be justified for the purpose of finding out whether he was engaged in terrorist activity. David Anderson is now rightly looking at this case.
“If the police and Government had a different purpose in detaining David Miranda for nine hours they need to say so, and set out what their legal justification was. We have an important tradition of freedom of the press in Britain and at the same time everyone also recognises that some information is kept secret to protect Britain's national security. Getting that balance right is extremely important, which is why the Theresa May needs to be clear about her intentions and about the legal framework.
“The police and security services work hard to safeguard our national security, and they need powers to prevent terrorism. However for public confidence to be maintained it is important that the Government, police and security services are seen to abide by the rule of law, and to operate proportionately with proper checks and balances in place.”