(From Yorkshire Post)
Kate O'Hara Crime Correspondent TERROR was put at the heart of the political agenda yesterday, as ministers flagged up plans for a draft Counter-Terrorism Bill in the Queen's Speech.
The Bill is eventually expected to include provisions such as no-jury terrorism trials and the use of phone-tapping evidence in court, although few details were given in the speech.
The Government stressed that as well as making available new powers, it would also channel additional resources to the security services, to double their capacity over the next three years.
The Queen said in her address: "My Government recognises that we live in a time of global uncertainty, with an increased threat from international terrorism and organised crime." The move followed a Government discussion paper published in February - Counter-terrorism Powers: Reconciling Security and Liberty in an Open Society. This was a means of launching a public consultation, the results of which are still being considered.
But plans for the Bill - published just hours after it emerged security services had thwarted attacks on Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf - immediately drew criticism from civil liberties groups and from opposition MPs. They accused the Government of "focusing on fear".
Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said: "Tough talk and tougher legislation is cheap.
"It doesn't make us any safer from crime, terrorism and the other great causes of fear.
"What it will do is to undermine the very …