'By hugely expanding the powers of the police, intelligence services and judiciary, the Terrorism Bill poses the gravest threat to civil liberties and democratic rights', Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths told the party's political committee on Wednesday evening.

Citing Amnesty International's savage attack on the Bill, he warned that

Muslims, foreign nationals and asylum seekers would be stripped of their

human rights as a consequence. Mr Griffiths urged full support for all MPs

who were genuinely resisting the Bill's proposals which include 90-day

police detention and a new offence of 'glorifying terrorism'.

The political committee welcomed David Blunkett's departure from the

Cabinet, while warning that the government's drive against incapacity

benefit claimants could now involve 'more stick and less carrot'.

'The rot has started at the top with a war-mad, profit-worshipping Prime

Minister who is besotted with the powerful and the wealthy', Mr Griffiths

declared.

'His scorched-earth policy towards our public services - especially

education - underlines the urgent need for the labour movement to clear out

the whole New Labour clique in favour of a real Labour government which

pursues progressive policies', he added.

The Communist Party political committee welcomed the launch of a CND

petition against any renewal of Britain's nuclear weapons of mass

destruction, pointing out that that the cost of replacing Trident would

finance 1,200 high-tech schools, 100 ultra-modern hospitals or 200,000 new

homes.