Large numbers of constituents are contacting me about so-called internet "snooping" plans. I entirely share the concerns being aired and, as yet, I have not received a single letter of email in support of these changes. More worryingly, the first I heard about the proposed legislation was when I picked up the newspapers. I am certainly not aware of the issue having been discussed in Parliament.
Recent press reports appear to suggest the Government may be backing off a little bit and I trust there will be a full, public debate in due course.
I think the obvious point here is what is it about these proposals which differentiate them from the similar sounding plans put forward by the previous Labour administration, which we vigorously opposed at the time on the basis they were a fundamental infringement of civil liberties?
I have written to the Home Secretary with several questions and a copy of the response I received is published below, which offers some reassurance.
While I support the right of the Government to target certain individuals suspected of or involved in terrorism, I certainly would not want to see a blanket surveillance of members of the public.
I will continue to seek further clarification on this before I decide how to vote and will certainly want to see more details about the safeguards mentioned when the Bill is published.
Letter to the Home Secretary
Following an announcement over the weekend that the government is planning to monitor the calls, emails, texts and website visits of everyone in the UK under new legislation, I have received a large amount of correspondence from angry constituents who are strongly opposed to the idea.
3 April 2012
Response from the Home Secretary
Thank you for your letter of 3 April regarding press reports of planned legislation on communications data. I fully appreciate why the descriptions in the press caused you and yopur constituents concern...
13 April 2012