It has become a tradition for the weekend at the start of Liberal Democrat federal autumn conferences to feature a Q+A session with the party leader. This time in Brighton I took the opportunity to submit a question about the Draft Communications Data Bill, aka Snoopers’ Charter.
With draft legislation currently being examined by a pre-legislative scrutiny committee made up of MPs and peers, it wouldn’t have been realistic to expect Nick Clegg to say ‘I’m going to kill the Bill’. His answers were promising in suggesting that is what he will end up saying, however.
First, for close followers of his answers on this topic, the Brighton Q+A session continued the trend over previous months of the answers becoming increasingly sceptical and mentioning the problems with the proposals more and more.
Second, Clegg repeated the de-facto veto being given over the legislation to Cambridge MP and darling of the Liberal Democrat members Julian Huppert. If Julian isn’t happy with proposals, they won’t happen; that has been the repeated message. Given Julian’s combination of technical knowledge, strong civil liberties instincts and public statements on the issue, that is very good news.