30 October 2018 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems fight expansion of Snoopers Charter

Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick will today lead the opposition to new government regulations that he describes as “yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties”.

Lord Paddick has tabled a motion to regret the Data Retention and Acquisition Regulations 2018 after Ministers failed to answer privacy concerns he raised in a Grand Committee debate last week.

The regulations would amend the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, also known as the “Snoopers’ Charter”, to give police the power to access communications data when investigating any crime “which involves, as an integral part of it, the sending of a communication or a breach of a person’s privacy”.

This follows a judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union in December 2016, which ruled that that such data must only be used “for the purpose of fighting serious crime”.

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson on Home Affairs, said:

The courts have ruled the police should only have your itemised phone bill, a record of where you’ve been with your mobile phone or which websites you’ve been looking at on the internet if they’re investigating serious crime. The Government are trying to get around the judgement by re-defining ‘serious crime’ as any offence involving communication, whether it’s serious or not.

This is yet another erosion of people’s civil liberties, giving the police draconian powers instead of the resources they desperately need to do their job properly and responsibly.

At the last election Liberal Democrats pledged more money for the police than any other political party. Only the Liberal Democrats are standing up to protect our freedoms and properly fund the police service.

Brexit risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has warned Brexit “risks a repeat of the Windrush scandal for EU citizens” following the appearance of Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes before the Home Affairs Select Committee this afternoon.

Under questioning, the Immigration Minister was unable to answer how employers would be able to tell the difference between EU citizens who have been living in the UK for five years or more – and are therefore entitled to settled status – and those who haven’t, and would therefore be subject to new controls.

The Home Office is currently trialling the scheme for applying for settled status, but it isn’t due to be fully open until March 2019. The Government has said that EU citizens have until 30th June 2021 to apply. However, the Minister said today that, in the event of ‘no deal’, new immigration controls – including employer checks of immigration status – will apply to EU citizens as of next year.

Following the exchanges, Ed Davey said:

Millions of EU citizens in the UK have been living under a cloud of uncertainty for more than two years. Far from clearing up that uncertainty today, the Immigration Minister made it worse.

We’ve already seen in the Windrush scandal how the Conservatives’ hostile environment checks can destroy the lives of people who have every right to be in the UK. The Government’s chaotic approach to Brexit risks a repeat of that scandal for EU citizens.

Liberal Democrats demand better. Conservative Ministers must end this uncertainty and offer a way out of this mess entirely by giving the people a final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to remain in the EU.

CPS guidelines must be reformed to tackle ‘sex for rent’

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Housing, today met the Ministry of Justice to call for the guidelines on prostitution to be updated to include digital platforms to help tackle ‘sex for rent’ crimes.

Following the meeting, Wera Hobhouse said:

The housing crisis is leaving many vulnerable individuals unable to afford their rent and at risk of exploitation. ‘Sex for rent’ crimes are not only vile, but completely illegal and the Government must do more to ensure those committing this crime are being brought to justice.

The current Crown Prosecution Service guidelines for prostitution cover advertising in telephone boxes and newspapers, but not digital platforms. It is vital these guidelines are fit for purpose and police are given the tools they need to stamp out this crime.

Updating these guidelines is long overdue and further inaction will leave some of the most vulnerable in our society with a choice of homelessness or exploitation.

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7 Comments

  • William Fowler 31st Oct '18 - 9:01am

    The most fundamental breach of personal data is the electoral register which now contains NI number, DOB, full name and address (the NI/DOB comes from the work and pensions database which is used to cross check that votes are real without voters knowledge) and this is searchable even if you tick the non-public box)… no opt out unless you get a court order to go on the anonymous register which is only searchable by the police etc.

  • David Becket 31st Oct '18 - 10:07am

    This party, and its leadership, needs to wake up very quickly.

    Labour are supporting Tax Cuts for the better off.

    We should be opposing this loudly.
    By all means increase the Tax Threshold (it was our idea), but we should claw it back from those on higher incomes, not increase their threshold.

    Come on WAKE UP

  • Losing civil rights and privacy is a slippery slope often lead by knee jerk reactions and saving money. We must continue to be the Party for defending civil liberties. It’s a bit like the boiling the frog story if you’ve heard of it.

  • David Becket: Labour have discovered that many of their new supporters would benefit from these tax cuts so that is why they are supporting them. I suspect that also applies to the Liberal Democrats. We live in interesting times. I guess those who will not benefit will not vote Labour again but the new people in charge are not worried about that as they did not expect them to vote Labour anyway. Labour has the support of the highly paid such as railway workers etc

  • David Becket 31st Oct '18 - 12:18pm

    @nvelope2003
    We either believe in tackling inequality, or like Labour we do not.
    I am not suggesting we cane the rich, but I am suggesting that this tax relief should be confined to those on the lower tax rate. A small step to reducing inequality, but a step in the right direction.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 31st Oct '18 - 2:00pm

    William makes a point of offering intelligent observations, this above is important, what are the spokespeople saying on this?

    David Becket never talks nonsense, again, good sense here, but electoral and financial reality meandering and masquerading often, here actually makes the shadow chancellor quite canny and do not forget he is committed to two extra tax bands for those even richer.

  • John Marriott 31st Oct '18 - 2:33pm

    Am I missing something? I didn’t think this piece had anything to do with tax rates. Is it time for a bit of Paul Walter arbitration again?

    As far as civil liberties are concerned, call me naive if you want; but, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why worry? I’d have an ID card tomorrow. Come to think of it, I sometimes wonder whether those Windrush victims would at least have had proof of residency if they had had an ID card to flash. But perhaps that’s too ‘illiberal’.

    While on the subject of taxes, there is far too much hypocrisy about. If you want Scandinavian levels of services, then you need to pay Scandinavian levels of taxation. Simples?

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