One element missing from the Queen’s Speech was the Communications Data Bill, aka the ‘snoopers’ charter’. No surprise to Lib Dems: Nick Clegg torpedoed it last month.
So I had a momentary spasm of concern to see on ConservativeHome this story from Mark Wallace: The Snoopers’ Charter comes sneaking back. Again.
I asked Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert (who’s played a crucial role in safeguarding civil liberties this parliament, including on this Bill) if there were any truth in it, and got an immediate reply…
— Julian Huppert (@julianhuppert) May 8, 2013
… and another from Lib Dem president Tim Farron:
— Tim Farron (@timfarron) May 8, 2013
Here’s Mark Wallace’s reply:
— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) May 8, 2013
As Mark highlights, the Home Office has a track record of returning to the scene of its civil liberties crimes. Joanthan Calder made this point strongly over at his Liberal England blog a couple of weeks ago: Lib Dem snooper’s charter victory is great, but we must be vigilant: “… the danger has not gone away. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and all that.”
And of course Lib Dems have within our own ranks — in the person of Lord (Alex) Carlile — one of the most avid agitators for new powers to be given to the authorities (aka protecting our freedoms by giving them up). Here he is on the BBC’s Daily Politics again making his familiar case for the erosion of civil liberties in the name of the greater good.
* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.