Yes, I know, it is Snoopers’ Charter Central here on Liberal Democrat Voice today. I hope you will forgive us for being relieved and delighted that Nick Clegg has made sure that the Government will not be bringing forward an illiberal, unnecessary and intrusive measure.
Over at the Guardian’s Comment is Free, our Nick Thornsby has given his take on the issue, going back through the events of the past year since the idea first emerged. At that point the Party was furious that we could even contemplate such a thing:
Their anger was such that a hastily arranged conference call with key government figures was held with activists, with the aim of reassuring the already bruised troops. Instead, the call simply made the situation worse, with special advisers failing to see the fundamental civil libertarian objections to such a proposal, and instead trying to explain why such a change was necessary.
However, as the Home Office’s proposals became more concrete, Clegg and his advisers grasped the problem and forced the proposed bill to be published in draft form to allow a committee of both houses of parliament to consider it.
The Committee rejected the Bill in fairly scathing terms and Nick Clegg rejected the idea of a Bill. Downing Street at the time indicated it was only a temporary reprieve. Nick Thornsby continues:
However, Clegg then found himself in an acutely tricky situation. On the one hand he had led the Home Office up the garden path of stating that he believed that some sort of change was necessary. Yet on the other he had a party membership still reeling from the “secret courts” fiascoand who want to see the party leadership stand firm on an issue – civil liberties – which most see as a defining one for the party.
You can read the whole article here.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings