Jo Shaw’s reply to Nick Clegg: Thanks for your stand on civil liberties – now it’s time to oppose secret courts as well

Supreme Court - Some rights reserved by cphoffman42We published yesterday Nick Clegg’s latest ‘Letter from the Leader’, focusing on the liberal stand he’s taken this past week on the internet snoopers’ charter and publicly stating his pro-reform/anti-drugs views. But one vexed issue was missing entirely — the Coalition’s proposal to introduce secret courts in the current Justice and Security Bill which has its second reading this Tuesday.

Secret courts were overwhelmingly rejected by the party’s conference in September, and our recent members’ survey showed a clear majority opposed outright, regardless of what compromises might be reached.

Jo Shaw, who leads the Liberal Democrats against secret courts campaign, has replied to Nick’s letter. Here’s what she has to say…

Dear Nick,jo shaw

Thanks for your email about the Liberal Democrats successes this week on civil liberties. I was very pleased to hear of your decision to stand up for protecting freedoms of the individuals against an overreaching state. And the news about the Equal Marriage Bill is also good news for all who believe in equality.

I was particularly glad to read from you your comment that:

“it is no use standing up for civil liberties in opposition if you then forget all about them in power”.

However I was disappointed in the omission from your email of any mention of the Justice and Security Bill which introduces secret courts into almost all civil proceedings. For reasons which are not at all clear, the Bill has been rushed to its second reading on Tuesday of this week.

This Bill was described by crossbencher Lord Pannick QC as “unnecessary, unfair and unbalanced”. Lord Pannick voted against the Bill in the Lords, even after his amendments to improve the measures somewhat had been accepted.

You know the outcome of September’s Conference – party members voted overwhelmingly to reject secret courts in any form.

You know the importance of standing up for our key Liberal Democrat principles when in government, as in opposition. And you have previously said:

“…you shouldn’t trust any government, actually including this one. You should not trust government – full stop. The natural inclination of government is to hoard power and information; to accrue power to itself in the name of the public good.”

You are right. We shouldn’t trust any government, particularly not one that tries to put the determination of the most serious claims – torture, rendition, negligence of the armed forces, false imprisonment, habeas corpus – behind closed doors, excluding press, public and the affected civilian party. Secret courts must not be a legacy of a government which includes Liberal Democrats.

Please do what I know you have the authority to do. Please implement our party policy. Please stop this illiberal unnecessary and offensive Bill.

Please stand up for our civil liberties this week as you have last week.

Yours,

Jo Shaw

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

4 Comments

  • Julie Porksen 17th Dec '12 - 7:51am

    It is very disappointing that Nick has chosen to ignore the wishes of the party expressed at conference. He has rarely had such a clear mandate to go and stand up for our Liberal values in legislation negotiations with the Tories. Our party has decided that this is a non-negotiable issue. Like Naomi, our party made me proud at conference. I am now even more proud of Jo, she has not given up on our party, the option some chose post-coalition, but stayed to fight for our Liberal values. Keep going Jo, til you win.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Cassie
    On topic: thank you for your post, Nicholas. I have friends in Hong Kong, with young children, and really worry for all of them....
  • Peter Watson
    @Fiona "I don’t think it’s correct to say that a cut in VAT is regressive." In Coalition, the party defended an increase in VAT as "mildly progressive", ...
  • Joseph Gerald Bourke
    Plain digestives are zero-rated. Biscuits covered or partly covered in chocolate or some other products similar in taste and appearance to chocolate are standar...
  • Brad Barrows
    @John Roffey And to extend your thinking, if Scotland had been a separate country and the rest of the UK has been an ally of Germany, maybe Scotland would have...
  • Jeff
    John Roffey 30th Jun '22 - 6:13pm: I thought this short video from the Dalai Lama provided much needed hope on Climate Change: His prayers do ...