Jo Shaw’s reply to Nick Clegg: Thanks for your stand on civil liberties – now it’s time to oppose secret courts as well

Supreme Court - Some rights reserved by cphoffman42We published yesterday Nick Clegg’s latest ‘Letter from the Leader’, focusing on the liberal stand he’s taken this past week on the internet snoopers’ charter and publicly stating his pro-reform/anti-drugs views. But one vexed issue was missing entirely — the Coalition’s proposal to introduce secret courts in the current Justice and Security Bill which has its second reading this Tuesday.

Secret courts were overwhelmingly rejected by the party’s conference in September, and our recent members’ survey showed a clear majority opposed outright, regardless of what compromises might be reached.

Jo Shaw, who leads the Liberal Democrats against secret courts campaign, has replied to Nick’s letter. Here’s what she has to say…

Dear Nick,jo shaw

Thanks for your email about the Liberal Democrats successes this week on civil liberties. I was very pleased to hear of your decision to stand up for protecting freedoms of the individuals against an overreaching state. And the news about the Equal Marriage Bill is also good news for all who believe in equality.

I was particularly glad to read from you your comment that:

“it is no use standing up for civil liberties in opposition if you then forget all about them in power”.

However I was disappointed in the omission from your email of any mention of the Justice and Security Bill which introduces secret courts into almost all civil proceedings. For reasons which are not at all clear, the Bill has been rushed to its second reading on Tuesday of this week.

This Bill was described by crossbencher Lord Pannick QC as “unnecessary, unfair and unbalanced”. Lord Pannick voted against the Bill in the Lords, even after his amendments to improve the measures somewhat had been accepted.

You know the outcome of September’s Conference – party members voted overwhelmingly to reject secret courts in any form.

You know the importance of standing up for our key Liberal Democrat principles when in government, as in opposition. And you have previously said:

“…you shouldn’t trust any government, actually including this one. You should not trust government – full stop. The natural inclination of government is to hoard power and information; to accrue power to itself in the name of the public good.”

You are right. We shouldn’t trust any government, particularly not one that tries to put the determination of the most serious claims – torture, rendition, negligence of the armed forces, false imprisonment, habeas corpus – behind closed doors, excluding press, public and the affected civilian party. Secret courts must not be a legacy of a government which includes Liberal Democrats.

Please do what I know you have the authority to do. Please implement our party policy. Please stop this illiberal unnecessary and offensive Bill.

Please stand up for our civil liberties this week as you have last week.

Yours,

Jo Shaw

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/32207 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

4 Comments

  • Julie Porksen 17th Dec '12 - 7:51am

    It is very disappointing that Nick has chosen to ignore the wishes of the party expressed at conference. He has rarely had such a clear mandate to go and stand up for our Liberal values in legislation negotiations with the Tories. Our party has decided that this is a non-negotiable issue. Like Naomi, our party made me proud at conference. I am now even more proud of Jo, she has not given up on our party, the option some chose post-coalition, but stayed to fight for our Liberal values. Keep going Jo, til you win.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarBill le Breton 30th Oct - 6:47pm
    John, the air is not fit to breathe in Green Land. True, it is pretty low in oxygen where we are now. Here is folly,...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 30th Oct - 6:35pm
    Scotland; my prediction last Spring was 2. It hasn't changed. Why? Because nothing HAS changed. If the Parly Party in the Commons was terrified in...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 30th Oct - 6:32pm
    Space and Place, dear Tony. Cut you in half and it still reads 'Geography'.
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 30th Oct - 5:56pm
    Stephen Campbell 30th Oct '14 - 3:13pm Stephen, that is very kind of you. I started to support the Liberal Party in the late 1960s....
  • User AvatarMary Reid 30th Oct - 5:55pm
    I think it is worth mentioning that the LDV team have been operating a more stringent comments policy for two or three years now -...
  • User Avatartheakes 30th Oct - 5:54pm
    Scotland: we are talking Scotland in this thread:- Latest Mori poll out this afternoon: SNP 52% Labour 23 Con 10 LD 6 Green 6 Electoral...