Thursday, June 12, 2008

David Davis resigns in protest of eroded freedoms

David Davis standing in defence of freedom

It is less than 24 hours since the Labour government won a victory in passing new anti-terror laws, but the fall out has already begun. As the votes were being cast it emerged that highly sensitive documents were mislaid on a train by a civil servant. The papers related to top secret intelligence information on al Qaeda. After being found by a passenger they were handed to the BBC and they in turn passed them to police. But despite the official being suspended from his post there are increased concerns over the ability of the government to protect sensitive information [BBC].

As ministers were reeling from this news, David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary handed in his resignation in protest of the new 42 detention rules for terror suspects. Speaking outside parliament he said the Labour government had blatantly and consistently eroded the civil liberties of British citizens. “This Sunday is the anniversary of the Magna Carta, the document which guarantees that most fundamental of British freedoms; Habeas Corpus, the right not to be imprisoned by the state without charge or reason” he said, “But yesterday the House decided to allow the state to lock up potentially innocent people for up to 6 weeks without charge”. This, he said “represented a slow strangulation of fundamental freedoms”. Along with the intrusive use of CCTV, proposals of a DNA database, ID cards, assaults on the jury trial system, David Davis said the new laws further added to the database state. He also criticised the way such information was handled saying that there were risks of the information leaking via “careless civil servants and computer hackers”. He finished by saying that he would resign from the House and force a by-election in protest against the “slow strangulation of fundamental freedoms by this government and the ever intrusive power of the state into our lives”. While the Leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, said the decision by Mr Davis was a personal one, he said it was a “brave and courageous one”. He added that he agreed that with Mr Davis on the principals of freedom within Great Britain [BBC / Sky News].

Meanwhile three people who had stood trial for withholding information connected with the 21/7 terror attacks in 2005 have been sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison. The wife of attempted bomber Hussain Osman was jailed for 15 years for failing to tell police about his plot to attack London. The Old Bailey heard that Yeshi Girma, 32, of Stockwell, south London, knew of Osman's plan to set off a bomb at Shepherd's Bush Tube station. She had also helped Osman flee from London. Her brother Esayas Girma, 22, and sister Mulu Girma, 24, who also aided Osman, were jailed for 10 years [BBC].

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