Friday, 11 February 2011

Protection of Freedoms Bill

Today the government unveiled it's Freedom Bill. As is tradition with these posts, I'll quote from both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Manifestos... and the Coalition Programme for government:

First the Conservative Manifesto:
"To protect our freedoms from state encroachment and encourage greater social responsibility, we will replace the Human Rights Act with a UK Bill of Rights."
Now the Liberal Democrat Manifesto:
"Restore and protect hard-won British civil liberties with a Freedom Bill"
"Introduce a Freedom Bill. We will regulate CCTV, stop councils from spying on people, stop unfair extradition to the US, defend trial by jury, and stop children being fingerprinted at school without their parents’ permission."
"Remove innocent people from the police DNA database and stop storing DNA from innocent people and children in the future, too."
"Ensure that everyone has the same protections under the law by protecting the Human Rights Act."
And finally the Coalition Agreement:
"We will introduce a Freedom Bill."
While the Conservative idea of a UK Bill of Rights sounds attractive on some levels, repealing the Human Rights Act and (potentially) leaving the European Convention on Human RIghts would have been a retrograde step. Now we have a bill which has the following statement on its very first page:
"Secretary Theresa May has made the following statement under section 19(1)(a) of the

Human Rights Act 1998:


In my view the provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Bill are compatible with the

Convention rights."
While it may not (quite) cover all the areas listed - although it also covers a number of other areas - the Protection of Freedoms Bill would not have happened without Liberal Democrats in Government.

Here's a video of Nick Clegg addressing the issue of criminal record checks for those working with children, courtesy of the BBC:



Caron's Musings , Richard Baum , and Duncan Stott have more and if you're so minded, you can read the bill here.

Andrew

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