Thursday, 8 July 2010

Section 44 to go

In the light of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 - which allowed police to stop and search anyone without having to show "reasonable suspicion" - is illegal, Home Secretary Theresa May announced its demise in the House of Commons this afternoon. She confirmed that the coalition government will not appeal against the judgment and that police operations under the Section will be suspended. New guidelines will be issued to Chief Constables shortly pending a comprehensive review of anti-terrorism legislation.

The fact that the official opposition spokesman described civil rights as a LibDem "obsession" and urged the Home Secretary to appeal the EHCR decision shows that nothing has changed in Labour. Individual back-benchers like Keith Vaz and Barry Gardiner may have broken ranks and stood up for individual freedoms, but otherwise this was another proof that coalition talks between Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown would have been fruitless. Civil rights are enshrined in Liberal Democrat philosophy to a far greater extent than tax rates.

By the way, if Labour want to defeat the VAT increase scheduled for next January, they would do better, rather than attack LibDem members of the government, to remind Conservative back-benchers that a 20% rate brings us into line with the rest of the EU.

Later - there is another example of principled action by the coalition government:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent posting Frank.

No chance of being stopped under Sec. 44 in the Llynfi Valley, because there is never any coppers up here!