++Breaking: Clegg gets tough with Theresa on terror measures

I have been uneasy about some of the measures in the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill which will be debated in the Commons in the next two days. It will clear its Commons stages, but once the Lords get their hands on it, they could quite easily defeat some of its key provisions. Nick Clegg has signalled that Liberal Democrats may withdraw support if more judicial oversight isn’t guaranteed. The Guardian has the story:

Clegg is calling on the home secretary to introduce government amendments in the upper house to meet the concerns of David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, about the lack of judicial checks on temporary exclusion orders. “The concern I have about this power and the central concern about it is, where are the courts in all of this?” Anderson asked before parliament’s joint human rights committee last year, in relation to the lack of judicial oversight of the orders, which can last up to two years.

A source close to Clegg said: “The Liberal Democrats have always sought to follow David Anderson’s advice. He is quite clear on the need for judicial oversight in this area. That is why we are seeking government amendments to be brought forward in the House of Lords on the oversight of temporary exclusion orders.”

The Lib Dems are not planning to support Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, when she seeks to amend the bill at its report stage in the House of Commons on Tuesday and Wednesday. Cooper is hoping to win the support of Tory rebels, including David Davis and Dominic Raab, for what she described in the Independent on Sunday as “additional judicial safeguards”. The Lib Dems, who take issue with the substance of some of Cooper’s proposals, would risk the collapse of the coalition if they backed an opposition amendment to a government bill.

This is more like it. I’m not so keen on the idea of excluding UK citizens for whom we are obliged to take responsibility. If they need to be managed once they are back, if there is evidence to substantiate that they pose a threat, then that should be done through the courts. Having said that,  if the Guardian story is accurate, this bill can’t pass in its current form and will require the Home Secretary to cede power to judges. I suspect that Clegg’s stance will come as no surprise to May. He will have been warning about this behind the scenes all along. It looks like the Tories weren’t for budging so there may well be some parliamentary drama ahead.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Listen to the current independent reviewer of terrorism legislation but not so much the last one… who is part of our party and recognised as an expert in the area. I consider this a grave lost to our creditability in this area.

  • “Mr (David) Davis said. “There are plenty of countries that can take away your passport at the stroke of a pen, but they tend to be places like North Korea.”

    This coalition government bill could easily be mistaken for UKIP policy. Hopefully Clegg will have a change of heart and “insist” that Liberal Democrats withdraw support.

  • TechnicalEphemera 6th Jan '15 - 12:15am

    So Nick Clegg is going to oppose the bill by telling Lib Dem MPs to vote for it in the commons, and to vote against the Labour amendment.

    When it gets amended in the Lords (if that happens) he will probably tell Lib Dem MPs to vote to reject the changes when the bill returns to the commons.

    This looks like a slow motion replay of the Judicial Review debacle.

  • Tsar Nicolas 6th Jan '15 - 3:45am

    Boiling frogs is the term that comes most to mind when I think about anti-terror legislation. We have become so used to draconian measures being passed that we will contemplate almost anything no matter how heavy-handed, especially when we consider those measures in a historical context.

    I for one thought that the end of the Cold war in 1990 would mean a new era in human liberty. Are bearded men in caves really an existential threat? More than an ideologically-driven super power with thousands of nuclear missiles?

  • “The Lib Dems, who take issue with the substance of some of Cooper’s proposals, would risk the collapse of the coalition if they backed an opposition amendment to a government bill.”

    And why is that a problem? Why would anybody worry about a “collapse of the coalition” when the scheduled elections are just four months away? What exactly could or would the Tories do? Demand a vote of confidence? Please.

  • @David-1

    Agree with your last post.

    Even now this close to the election, Liberal Democrats are in fear of voting against their Tory Partners and supporting a Labour motion.

    It proves what I have been thinking for a very long time.
    The Liberal Democrats in this government, and unfortunately a large portion of the party do not believe in plural politics at all. They are only interested in plural politics between themselves and their Tory counterparts.
    This is very damaging to our democracy and Liberal Democrats are fast becoming something very horrid, something that they always purported to be against themselves.

    The closer we get to the election the more and more I hope for a Labour Majority and I think most left leaning minded people will feel the same if they continue to feel repulsed by Liberal Democrat actions over the following months

  • Tsar Nicolas 6th Jan '15 - 10:13am

    A distinctive Liberal measure would be to repeal all anti-terror legislation passed after 1997 – the year that Labour took over, and at the same time restore the double-jeopardy rule and centuries of legal protection against state persecution.

  • Dr Michael Taylor 6th Jan '15 - 10:14am

    Oh dear me. What is it that David and Matt and others don’t understand about a coalition agreement? It was made for 5 years until the next election. Whatever you think about what has happened in policy terms – and you of course NEVER mention anything positive – what little credibility the party has as coalition partners would be utterly wrecked by provoking an early end to the current government. Why should anyone trust us again if we can’t deliver 5 years in government as agreed?

  • Dr Michael Taylor 6th Jan '15 - 10:21am

    Matt wants a majority Labour Government. Woopee. He wants the economy wrecked, spending out of control and the collapse of confidence of world markets in the UK.

    Of course, Labour won’t deliver, because they’re committed to ending the deficit, so unless they increase taxes – which they say they won’t apart from the tokenistic 50p rate and the mansion tax, neither of which will raise oodles of dosh- they simply won’t have the money to ‘save our public services’, unless they do as they did in government and borrow, borrow, borrow. (See above)

    Get real. Labour are liars. If people believe them against the evidence of the last stint in government, more fool them.

  • @Dr Michael Taylor

    “Why should anyone trust us again if we can’t deliver 5 years in government as agreed?”

    Why should anyone trust you again if the parliamentary party votes to support a policy that is supposedly against for fear that it would end the coalition.

    Lets be reminded that an MP is elected to represent the members of his / her constituency, NOT to become a puppet for it’s leadership or indeed coalition partners.

    If It is not in the coalition agreement, you are not forced to support it and if it goes against party policy upon which you were elected, you should have principles to stand by them.

    That is what the public wants, that is what the public expects and most of all that is what the public deserves

  • @Dr Michael Taylor

    “Matt wants a majority Labour Government. Woopee. He wants the economy wrecked, spending out of control and the collapse of confidence of world markets in the UK.”

    Rubbish, you do not know me and you do not know what I want, so please do not make it personal.

    I believe Labour have said they would
    “ Reverse the under-occupancy penalty (‘bedroom tax’/‘spare room
     End the ‘shares for rights’ scheme
     Reintroduce the Schedule 19 stamp duty reserve tax
     Increase the top rate of income tax from 45p to 50p
     Withdraw the winter fuel payment from higher-rate income tax
     Increase child benefit by 1% in 2016–17 (below inflation)
     Compulsory jobs guarantee, paid for by a one-off bankers’ tax and
    restricting pension contribution relief to a maximum of 20% for
    those with an income of over £150,000
     Cut business rates, funded by a reversal of the government’s plans
    for a cut in the main rate of corporation tax
     Introduce a mansion tax on homes worth more than £2 million
     Increase spending on the NHS
     Abolish the married couple’s tax allowance
     Introduce a 10p starting rate of income tax
     Impose a windfall tobacco tax (one-off, so no effect in 2019–20)
     Extend free childcare extension to 25 hours a week
     Increase the bank levy”

    Interesting that even the IFS says
    “Of the main parties, Labour has perhaps been the most cautious of the three in that, at least on the basis of its own costings, it appears to have managed not to announce an overall net giveaway. Just looking at tax and social security spending policies, Labour has announced a small net takeaway of 0.1% of national income.

    “Taking this all together, the Conservatives have the largest gap between the fiscal
    tightening implied by their fiscal rule and the specific policies that they have announced
    so far. Their plans currently contain an unspecified 2.0% of national income fiscal
    consolidation. The Liberal Democrats have a 0.8% of national income unspecified
    consolidation, and Labour a 0.6% of national income unspecified consolidation. ”

    So to say Labour would wreck the economy with spending out of control is simply untrue.

    What would wreck the economy would be another 5 years of coalition between Tories and Lib Dems.

    See public services decimated to levels not seen since 1930. See a Million Public sector job Redundancies, costing us Billions.
    See the poor, vulnerable sick and disabled hammered even more by this government and segregated from the rest of society.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 6th Jan '15 - 3:08pm

    I also don’t get the point of not voting with the opposition – if that is our belief and principle, why not? Surely the Tory government trap and charade has to stop – whoever said we vote to support some other party’s principle we don’t agree with? This is the reason why voters would never trust Lib Dems – if LDs believe in a principle but will vote against it. Following Tory ways is not the way to gain trust or maintain it. Follow OUR principles and reject the double-dealing of parliamentary protocol – which is already rejected by the voters.

  • Tsar Nicolas 6th Jan '15 - 4:48pm

    There is no logic to what Dr Michael Taylor has posted. Or rather, the logic is that just because the Lib Dems have signed up to a 5-year Coalition agreement, they are bound to support every policy proposal put forward by the Conservatives. If the converse were to be argued – automatic Tory support for Lib Dem proposals not in the Agreement – it would be howled down by the Orange Bookers as unrealistic.

    Clearly, coalition under Clegg and the rightists is a one-way street.

  • TechnicalEphemera 6th Jan '15 - 10:03pm

    Presumably if it isn’t in the coalition agreement the Lib Dems are free to vote against without risking their precious government limos (can’t see any other reason to worry about the coalition now).

    Here is an opportunity to burnish those left wing credentials, and remind us of the Lib Dems belief in freedom – and yet you do nothing. Madness, it is like Clegg is deliberately driving the party to its doom.

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