Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Nick Clegg gets his Freedom Bill

In November 2006 I blogged about an article the Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary had written, using the title: "Nick Clegg: Why we need a Freedom Bill".

Today it became law.

A press release from Great George Street tells me:
A landmark move to roll back Labour’s surveillance state has today become law. The Protection of Freedoms Act will: 
  • stop councils snooping 
  • end the storage of DNA of innocent people 
  • reduce the bureaucracy of CRB checks 
  • end 28-day detention 
  • stop schools deciding on their own to take fingerprints of children 
  • make stalking a criminal offence 
  • end wheel clamping on private land 
  • delete historical convictions for men who have had consensual gay sex with someone who was over 16
It quotes Tom Brake as saying:
“This is a milestone in the fight to claw back our civil liberties. Under the Labour government, our civil liberties were steadily eroded by an increasingly over-bearing security state. 
“Liberal Democrats have done the right thing to clear up Labour’s mess by ending these shameful practices with the Protection of Freedoms Act. 
“The Coalition Government has already scrapped ID cards and destroyed the National Identity Register and is now making another leap forward with this Act to end Labour’s surveillance state. 
“The Act stops councils snooping, ends the storage of the DNA of innocent people, reduces the bureaucracy of CRB checks, curtails 28-day detention without charge and bans schools from taking children’s fingerprints without parental permission.”
And another release quotes Chair of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, Adrian Trett:
“The Protection of Freedoms Act is a major win for the LGBT rights. Gay and bisexual men who were convicted for acts that are now perfectly legal will finally be able to get them deleted from their criminal records. It marks the end of the overhang from a bygone era when being gay was still criminalised. 
“It shows the determination of the Liberal Democrats and the Coalition Government to do the right thing. The march for equal rights is not over yet but with today’s news and the consultation on how to introduce equal marriage, we’re steadily chipping away at the final hurdles.”
No doubt we should read the small print, but Great George Street chose the right evening to ring me asking for a donation.

1 comment:

Jock Coats said...

Now *this* is a reforming government:

"He also stated that the number of public Acts repealed wholly or in part, or amended, during the three years 1870-71-72 had been 3,532, of which 2,579 had been totally repealed. To see whether this state of repeal has continued, I have referred to the annually-issued volumes of “The Public General Statutes” for the last three sessions. Saying nothing of the numerous amended Acts, the result is that in the last three sessions there have been totally repealed, separately or in groups, 650 Acts, belonging to the present reign, besides many of preceding reigns. This, of course, is greatly above the average rate; for there has of late been an active purgation of the statute-book." (Herbert Spencer, The Sins of Legislators).

...and by a Liberal government to boot.