Clegg vows to restore civil liberties undermined by Labour
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Last Updated: Saturday, January 08, 2011, 00:03
London: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Friday promised to restore civil liberties undermined by the previous Labour administration in the name of fighting crime and terrorism.

"The Coalition Government is going to turn a page on the Labour years resurrecting the liberties that have been lost embarking on a mission to restore our great British freedoms," he said in a speech on civil liberties here today.

Clegg acknowledged that the "threat we face from terrorists is very very real but the Labour government got the balance between liberty and security wrong."

"This nation is built on a faith in fair play.

Innocent until proven guilty. Equal before the law. Each individual able to think and speak without fear or persecution," he said.

"Yet recent times have seen those traditions badly damaged. Under Labour our civil liberties have been undermined, eroded, lost," he underlined.

Labour turned Britain into a place where black or Asian were seven times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police.

He said the coalition government is going to restore the right balance of liberty and security in the measures taken to tackle terrorism - recognising we can and must have both.

He vowed to revers the widespread, everyday assaults on liberty that swept across Britain during the Labour years.

He said it would include ending the practices of closed and secretive government, giving people the information and freedom they need to hold us and other institutions to account.

The deputy premier's Liberal Democrats, Britain's third party, have long been known as champions of civil liberties and equality.

However, the party's popularity has plummet in opinion polls since becoming part of a coalition government with the Conservatives in May 2009.

The Labour-Lib Dem alliance has already ended a plan for national identity cards and vowed to cull the police DNA database, one of the world's largest.


First Published: Saturday, January 08, 2011, 00:03

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