“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.Our democracy has suffered at the hands of encroaching centralisation and secrecy for decades. Take citizens’ rights: eroded by the quiet proliferation of laws that increase surveillance, quash dissent, limit freedom. Take executive authority: consistently increased by successive administrations to the point that we now have a muted Parliament and government enjoys almost untrammelled control over precisely the people who are meant to keep it in check. Take the welfare state: one of modern society’s greatest liberators but now so different to that envisaged by Beveridge because it has been distorted by excessive centralisation and micromanagement.” – Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Ministers Speech and Q+A – 19/05/2010
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.