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!

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

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 …

Posted in News | 2 Comments

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

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

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

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 38 Comments

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

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

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

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments
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