Queen’s Speech – Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill

“Now today, I want to talk about how we will get there, three major steps that will begin immediately. One, we will repeal all of the intrusive and unnecessary laws that inhibit your freedom. Two, we will reform our politics so that it is open, transparent and decent. And three, we will radically redistribute power away from the centre into your communities, your homes, your hands. Big sweeping change: not incremental, not bit by bit.

A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill would address concerns around what has been described as a tidal wave of criminal justice legislation in recent years. It also provides an opportunity to strengthen the accountability of bodies receiving public funding in light of lessons learnt so far from the operation of the Freedom of Information Act.

The main elements of the Bill are:

The exact content of the Bill will be announced in due course and could cover a range of policies, including:

•The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
•The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.
•The reform of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.
•The repeal of unnecessary criminal offences.
•Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.
•The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.
•Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
•Further regulation of CCTV.
•Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.
  
Existing legislation in this area is:

•CCTV – Data Protection Act 1998 and Regulation of Investigation Act 2000.
•Protest – Public Order Act 1986.
•DNA – Crime and Security Act 2010.
•Terrorism – Terrorism Act 2000, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, Terrorism Act 2006 and Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.

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