Tag Archives: freedom bill

Opinion: Does the Prime Minister really care about free speech?

The Prime Minister is concerned that Leveson’s “essential” legislative underpinning for press self-regulation would cross a line. “We should be wary of any legislation that has the potential to infringe free speech and a free press”, he stated, saying that we should be proud of our “great tradition” of freedom of speech. But the UK has many laws that restrict citizens’ free expression and which we should be deeply ashamed of. Will the PM be campaigning to end these?

There’s ‘Section 5’, under which – for example – a 16 year old was summoned to court for holding a placard saying, “Scientology is not a religion. It is a dangerous cult.” Thankfully, after pressure from MPs and the Reform Section 5 campaign, the Home Office consulted on the law and – separately – the Lords will tomorrow vote on amending it. Reformists (including the Deputy Prime Minister) can presumably count on the PM’s support!

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Government pilots new scheme to consult public over drafting of legislation

As someone who has often responded to government consultations on legislation, either on behalf of the party or as an interested individual, and even sometimes got the law changed, I’ve often been disappointed how few people respond to those consultations. In very technical areas, that may not matter too much, but there is a huge swathe of legislation where wider input can provide sensible ideas. It is, after all, the outsider to a system who can often spot what has become second nature to those in the system but no longer makes sense (if it ever did).

So it is good …

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Tom Brake writes: The Freedom Bill is a staging post towards an even freer society

The Freedom Bill is clear evidence of the Liberal Democrats setting the political agenda and making a positive difference to how we live in Britain.

It’s our robust answer to unwelcome and unwarranted intrusions into our everyday lives. It starts the dismantling of an overbearing surveillance state and restores British civil liberties that we used to be able to take for granted.

At the heart of the Bill is a commitment to safeguarding and protecting individuals and national security. What has felt to many like an obsession of the state to monitor our every waking moment is broken down by the …

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LibLink: Nick Clegg – Sweeping away the illiberal measures of the past

Over on Sean Dilley’s blog, there’s a transcript of an interview he conducted on talkSPORT with deputy prime minister Nick Clegg discussing yesterday’s announcement of the government’s long-awaited Freedom Bill. Here’s an excerpt of what Nick said:

I first proposed the idea of a Freedom Bill some years ago, because I think under Labour, too many of our Freedoms were taken away. Our Privacy was invaded. Too many innocent people were treated with suspicion. Look, under Labour, your children could have their finger prints taken at school without your permission. You could be spied on by your local Council, your bins

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Freedoms Bill published: now you can marry at 6:01pm

Earlier today, the Protection of Freedoms Bill was published which, in the words of Lib Dem MP Tom Brake, “brings to fruition proposals which were first drawn up by Nick Clegg four years ago, and demonstrates our commitment to rolling back unnecessary and intrusive laws introduced by Labour”.

Key provisions of the Bill include the enactment of some previously announced decisions alongside some new, additional proposals:

  • an end to the routine monitoring of 9.3 million people under the radically reformed vetting and barring scheme
  • millions of householders protected from town hall snoopers checking their bins or school catchment area
  • the scrapping of Section 44

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Convictions for historic gay sex offences to be erased

Convictions for historic gay sex offences will be erased as part of the Freedom Bill, the Sunday Telegraph reports:

Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equalities minister, will announce firm proposals for new legislation within days, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

The move will benefit thousands of men who were prosecuted for gay sex with someone over 16 during decades when the practice was against the law.

Currently, they must disclose the information as part of the programme of Criminal Records Bureau checks if they apply to work or volunteer for charities and other organisations.

Getting such a conviction expunged currently

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The Independent View: surveillance lessons from Birmingham

Birmingham, the city that this week played host to the Conservative party conference, has also been hosting a grass roots battle for Liberty.

This battle takes the form of a campaign run by residents against Project Champion. This project involved the police installing automated number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) in a Muslim area of the city.

It has now been shown that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) provided the project’s funding as part of an anti-terror grant. This raises the questions as to why people were mislead by senior officers into believing the cameras were installed for crime prevention

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Two for the freedom bill: seatbelts and drugs?

Professor John Adams has submitted a Mill-esque proposal for the Government’s Freedom Bill.

Adams, author of “Risk”, explains on his blog:

The Cream Buns Act would remove all existing laws and regulations that proscribe behaviour that risks only the health or safety of mentally competent adult risk takers.

Two nominations for early repeal: the seat belt law and the set of laws criminalizing the sale or use of drugs. They merit priority not only because they pass the Cream Buns Test but, more importantly, because they have criminalized millions and can be shown to have had highly significant adverse consequences. The

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The Freedom Bill: this time the consultation is for real, but is it better?

The Freedom Bill (previously known as the Great Repeal Bill) has been a Liberal Democrat policy for some time and now that we’re in coalition government it’s become the Your Freedom initiative – an online consultation to identify laws to repeal.

In two respects this is good news – online consultation is becoming more of a habit for government and it’s also becoming a welcome pattern to see long-standing Liberal Democrat demands move towards actual implementation by government.

But in one respect I think the Your Freedom site does not address a key issue as well as the party did when …

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Nick Clegg launches “Your Freedom”

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The Tories and control orders: saying one thing, voting another way

Control orders were introduced by Labour in 2005, and give the Home Secretary powers to impose a limitless range of restrictions on any person they suspect of involvement in terrorism.

As the Lib Dems noted in our proposed Freedom Bill, ‘The restrictions imposed by some control orders amount to house arrest and they can include controls on who a person can meet or speak to; when they can leave their house and where they can go. This undermines the freedom not only of those on control orders but of their families as well.’

Lib Dems are, unsurprisingly, opposed to Labour’s …

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The Elephant Interviews… Mr Chris Huhne, Fighting for Freedom

Hello fluffy friends!

I hope that you have had a Happy Easter break and that you all watched new DOCTOR WHO.

But now, it is time for another interview. Short notice, this time, but if you can be in WESTMINSTER next TUESDAY, 21st April, at 5.15pm then this is your chance to put the questions to the Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Mr Chris Huhne.

We have not spoken to Mr Chris since the LEADERSHIP CONTEST, but since very nearly pipping Mr Clogg at the post, he has been working hard on the important Home Office and Civil Liberties brief.

Mr Huhne recently published …

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Freedom Bill launched

Chris Huhne and colleagues have just finished a press conference in Cowley Street, launching the party’s draft Freedom Bill. As he writes for Comment is Free:

There has always been a problem for civil libertarians. The sacrifices of freedoms made by successive governments often seem small, particularly when they are pushed through at times of panic about terrorism. Each time, the government argues that you only need to give up a modest amount of freedom or rights to win greater security. And what could be more free than life itself? Yet the cumulative effects of this salami-slicing have now become deeply

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Is the Today programme going to launch a political party?

I only ask because, whilst it has become traditional for other political parties to copy Liberal Democrat policies, Today has now started doing the same.

Perhaps it is the start of a John Humphrys for Parliament campaign? (Though let’s hope he doesn’t find his attempt to vote for himself scuppered by the failure of his local council to remind him that he signed up for a postal vote; I mean – being told nine times by the council that you have a postal vote isn’t really often enough is it?)

In case you’re wondering if it is site value rating …

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Nick Clegg on the Freedom Bill

Nick has an article out today on the eGov monitor website about the Liberal Democrat proposals for a “Freedom Bill” which would axe unnecessary laws.

You can read more about the laws the Liberal Democrats would axe – and nominate your own – on the party’s website and you can watch Nick’s speech from conference where he launched the plans:

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PM “trying to legislate his way in to history”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Menzies Campbell has accused the Government of ‘statutory addiction’ and commented that this Queen’s Speech was ‘remarkably similar to those which have gone before’.

Menzies Campbell said:

After nearly ten years in office the government and the Prime Minister are still chasing the same elusive goals and the same elusive headlines.

This is a rush from judgement towards legislation. The government suffers from a statutory addiction.

This is a Prime Minister trying to legislate his way into history.
Before the Prime Minister was elected he told us that his priority was education, education, education.

Since he was elected his priority has proved to be legislation, legislation, legislation.

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Heads up: Campbell & Clegg to launch Freedom Bill at 10am

Menzies Campbell and Nick Clegg will launch a “Freedom Bill” in Westminster this morning, calling for the repeal of 10 parliamentary acts passed since Labour came to power.

More

UPDATE: After that, Menzies Campbell and our shadow cabinet will gather for a strategy meeting in Henley-Upon-Thames from lunchtime Thursday to lunchtime Friday. According to Cowley Street “The party is preparing for a possible general election in October 2007″. I’ve heard there’s a good motivational speaker available in Henley…

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