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 Post subject: Paul Bernal: Labour and the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’…
PostPosted: Wed, 27 Jun 2012 10:17:33 +0000 
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Labour and the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’…
Posted: June 19, 2012

The draft Communications Data Bill – dubbed, pretty accurately in my view, as the ‘Snoopers’ charter’ – has already been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny. I’ve blogged about it a number of times, as have many others far more expert than me. My own MP, Lib Dem Julian Huppert, will be on one of the parliamentary committees scrutinising the bill, and has spoken out about aspects of the bill with some vehemence. David Davis MP, Tory backbencher and former minister, has been one of the most vocal and eloquent opponents of the whole idea of the bill. His speech at the Scrambling for Safety conference a few months ago (which I blogged about here) was hugely impressive. I’m sure he will keep up the pressure – and I’m equally sure that there are a significant number of Tories and Lib Dems who will have at the very least sympathies for the respective positions of Davis and Huppert.

But what about Labour? No Labour MPs even appeared at the Scrambling for Safety conference – and very few have said anything much about it even since the draft bill was released. Tom Watson MP, one of very few MPs who really ‘gets’ the internet, and one who really understands privacy, has of course had one or two other things on his mind…. but what about the rest of them? All we’ve heard is cautious and even supportive noises from Yvette Cooper, and little else. That, for me, is deeply disturbing. It’s disturbing for two reasons:

1. If we’re going to defeat this bill – and we need to defeat this bill – then we’re going to need to get the Labour Party on board, and not just because they’re the ‘opposition’.

2. More importantly, because the Labour Party SHOULD oppose the kind of measures put forward in this bill, if they’re really the party of the ordinary person, if they’re in any sense a ‘progressive’ party, y’d if they’re any sort of a ‘positive’ party.


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