Tag Archive | "nick clegg"

The launch of the Great Repeal Bill


In her letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, triggering Article 50, the Prime Minister said that the Government “would bring forward legislation that will repeal the Act of Parliament – the European Communities Act 1972 – that gives effect to EU law in our country. We also intend to bring forward several other pieces of legislation that address specific issues relating to our departure from the European Union, also with a view to ensuring continuity and certainty, in particular for businesses.”

Unveiling the government’s white paper on the “great repeal bill”, the Brexit secretary David Davis told MPs that as well as transposing aspects of EU legislation into UK law, the bill would create a new power to “correct the statute book.”

The Great Repeal Bill White Paper sets out the government’s proposals for ensuring a functioning statute book once the UK has left the European Union. It aims to provide the detail about the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, how EU law will be converted into UK law, and how corrections will be made to the statute book.

Davis said: “Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses – as will the devolved legislatures, where they have power to do so,” he said. The bill will provide a power to correct the statute book where necessary to resolve the problems which will occur as a consequence of leaving the EU.

Davis added that the new powers would be temporary. “I can confirm this power will be time-limited. And parliament will need to be satisfied that the procedures in the bill for making and approving the secondary legislation are appropriate. Given the scale of the changes that will be necessary and the finite amount of time available to make them, there is a balance to be struck between the importance of scrutiny and correcting the statute book in time.”

All this is a very formidable task. The ‘Gazette’ quotes legal information specialist Thomson Reuters saying that a total of 52,741 laws have been introduced in the UK as a result of EU legislation since 1990. Thinktank the Institute for Government has reported that up to 15 new parliamentary bills will be required. As each Queen’s speech introduces an average of 20 new bills, this will leave very little space in the parliamentary calendar for non-Brexit related legislation.

The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said the proposed bill gave sweeping powers to the executive to change regulations. “Sweeping, because it proposes a power to use a delegated legislation to correct and thus change primary legislation, and also devolved legislation. Sweeping because of the sheer scale of the exercise.”

There are indications of a very bumpy road ahead. Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, warned that the government will face a difficult balancing act to get the legislation right, given that it wanted to ensure UK laws were compatible with EU rules to make negotiating a trade deal easier.

The SNP’s Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins said: “It strikes me that the government has pushed the big red button marked Brexit with their fingers crossed and very little idea of what comes next.”

And BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg’s view of the Prime Minister is that “On paper her position looks as unpalatable as any prime minister’s in modern times. A negotiation against 27 other countries, some of whom want to make the UK pay. A deal of mind-bending complexity beckons. A wafer thin majority in Parliament. The Scottish government intent on pushing for a vote to break up the other union.

All this, knowing that one false move could wreak havoc on the economy or unleash demons inside her own party.”

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Investigatory Powers Bill


Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV, and surveillance has become an inescapable part of life. Britain has a larger DNA base and more police powers and email snooping than any comparable liberal democracy.

Coalition home secretary Teresa May’s snooper’s charter bill, introduced three years ago, would have allowed GCHQ to conduct real-time surveillance of a person’s communications and their web usage. The intelligence services and police would have had powers to insist that internet and phone companies hand over our data without our knowledge. Read the full story

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Counter-extremism bill – part 1


Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV. As a result, surveillance has become an inescapable part of life. Britain has a larger DNA base and more police powers and email snooping than any comparable liberal democracy.

This was the very solid base for coalition home secretary Teresa May’s snooper’s charter bill three years ago which would have allowed GCHQ to conduct real-time surveillance of a person’s communications and their web usage. The intelligence services and police would have had powers to insist that internet and phone companies hand over our data without our knowledge. She stressed the need to move quickly.

Then plans were put on hold after being condemned by MPs of all parties. Nick Clegg, then Deputy Prime Minister, announced that the contentious measures would only be published in draft form and would be subject to widespread consultation, concessions that could delay the proposals for at least a year.

Now these proposals are very much back on the agenda. David Cameron and the home secretary, Theresa May, have defined extremism as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values”. It covers a range of activity not caught by the current law as terrorism, incitement to violence, stirring up hatred or abuse.

The counter-extremism bill, which is due to be published later this year, is aimed at “suppressing extremist activity.” It is far more wide-ranging than expected. The legislation will include not only the expected snooper’s charter, it will include proposals for banning orders to outlaw extremist organisations, extremist disruption orders to restrict the activities of individuals, and closure orders to shut down premises used by extremists.
It also moves to strengthen the security services’ warranted powers for the bulk interception of the content of communications. The extension of the bill to “modernise the law” on tracking communications data, was agreed within government only this month.

Last week, in the first live media interview ever given by a senior British intelligence official, the head of MI5, Andrew Parker, called for more up to date surveillance powers and said tech companies had an ethical responsibility to provide more help in monitoring the communications of suspected terrorists and paedophiles.
The investigatory powers legislation is expected to include powers to require internet and phone companies to collect and store for 12 months the browsing histories of customers along with detailed records of voice calls, messaging and text services.

It would require the companies, including those based abroad such as Google and Facebook, to give the police and security services access to this bulk data.

In a statement released by MI5 after his radio interview, Parker welcomed the prospect of new legislation governing surveillance, acknowledging that the existing law, introduced in 2000, was out of date.

He said: “Today we are being stretched by a growing threat from terrorism, and from Syria in particular, combined with the constant challenge of technological change.” He said the terrorist threat to the UK was rated severe, meaning an attack is likely, and that six alleged terrorist plots had been disrupted over the last year, the highest number he had seen in his 32 years at MI5.

“The way we work these days has changed as technology has advanced. Our success depends on us and our partner agencies having sufficient up-to-date capabilities, used within a clear framework of law against those who threaten this country,” he said.

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“Turbo-charged snoopers’ charter”


Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV. As a result, surveillance has become an inescapable part of life. Britain has a larger DNA base and more police powers and email snooping than any comparable liberal democracy.

This was the very solid base for coalition home secretary Teresa May’s snooper’s charter bill three years ago which would have allowed GCHQ to conduct real-time surveillance of a person’s communications and their web usage. The intelligence services and police would have had powers to insist that internet and phone companies hand over our data without our knowledge. She stressed the need to move quickly. Read the full story

Posted in Civil Liberties, Criminal JusticeComments (0)

ECHR (2) – And those against


There was always an air of mischief about the appointment of Lib Dem Simon Hughes to justice minister at the last reshuffle. He and his boss Chris Grayling are hardly soul mates, and Hughes has had some very forthright things to say about the government’s proposals.

“The Conservatives don’t care about the rights of British citizens” he said. “They care about losing to Ukip. These plans make no sense: you can’t protect the human rights of Brits and pull out of the system that protects them…We will not allow the Tories to take away the hard-won human rights of British people when in the UK or anywhere else in Europe.” Read the full story

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Challenge to DRIP


Drip is the acronym of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act which was rushed through Parliament with unseemly haste in three days last week in response to a European Court of Justice ruling in April that challenged the rights of phone and other communications providers to keep records of information on people’s calls and emails.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that the accelerated passage of the bill through Parliament was necessary because of the April ruling. They warned this would deny police and security services access to vital data about phone and email communications. “Lives could be lost”, said Home Secretary Theresa May. Read the full story

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The Queen’s speech reprised


This week’s Queen’s speech has been described as a “mouse of a programme” but last year’s speech contained a raft of new measures to transform the justice system and keep both the legal profession and civil libertarians very interested. Twelve months on this is what has happened to them. Read the full story

Posted in Civil Law, Civil Liberties, Criminal JusticeComments (0)

Secret Courts


Government proposals to expand secret courts suffered a series of hefty defeats in the House of Lords last Wednesday, significantly narrowing the scope of the justice and security bill. This can have come as no surprise to the government. The opposition of human rights groups and many prominent lawyers, and parliament’s joint committee on human rights (JCHR), to secret trials and withholding evidence has been mounting. Read the full story

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The Queen’s speech


Weighing in at just under eight minutes, last week’s Queen’s speech has been generally regarded as lightweight. But it contained a raft of new measures to transform the justice system and keep both the legal profession and civil libertarians very interested. Read the full story

Posted in Civil Law, Law UpdatesComments (0)

Be afraid, be very afraid


Britain leads the world in the use of CCTV. As a result, surveillance has become an inescapable part of life. Britain has a larger DNA base and more police powers and email snooping than any comparable liberal democracy.

This is the very solid base for home secretary Teresa May’s new bill which will allow GCHQ to conduct real-time surveillance of a person’s communications and their web usage. The intelligence services and police will have powers to insist that internet and phone companies hand over our data without our knowledge. Read the full story

Posted in Civil LibertiesComments (0)

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