Labour May Oppose Cameron’s Anti-Terrorism Bill if too Draconian

The Guardian has reported today that Labour’s Andy Burnham has said that they will oppose the government’s new anti-terrorism laws if they are too harsh. The article begins

Labour has signalled it is prepared to oppose new surveillance and counter-terrorism legislation if it is too heavy-handed, as David Cameron announces more details about his anti-terror strategy such as measures to prevent teenagers travelling to join Isis.

Andy Burnham, the shadow home secretary, said Labour will support legislation that is “reasonable and proportionate” but stressed the party had a duty to make sure the government gets the balance right.

He warned Cameron to proceed with the utmost caution and make sure his laws do not fuel “resentment, division and a sense of victimisation”, especially among Britain’s Muslim population.

Cameron is planning to spell out more details of his strategy on Monday, as well as making the case for two new pieces of law – the investigatory powers bill and a counter-terrorism bill.

As part of the overall strategy, he will extend the powers of parents to cancel their children’s passports if they are worried that their children may be about to travel to Syria or Iraq to join Islamic State. The powers that currently apply to under-16s will now be rolled out to all those under-18.

There will also be new measures to automatically bar convicted terrorists from working with children and vulnerable people. Cameron will also announce that suspected jihadi returning from Syria and Iraq will be forced to attend classes to address their support for extremist ideology.

The article can be read at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/oct/19/labour-warns-cameron-surveillance-and-anti-terror-laws-andy-burnham-counter-terrorism

The passage of unnecessarily and excessively harsh legislation under the pretext of combating terrorism by the Tories is a real threat. They’ve already passed laws providing for Kafkaesque secret courts, in which the accused may not know what he is charged with, the evidence against him, or even who his accusers are, if the information is considered sensitive and its divulgence a threat to national security. The have furthermore passed domestic legislation severely curtailing the right to peaceful protest and to go on strike. In the latter, trade unions on picket lines must give their names to the police. And Daniel Gardonyi, a Hungarian man involved in the Sweet’s Way protest, has been threatened with deportation despite the fact that he has not been charged with any offence.

The government has shown itself repeatedly more than willing to use the threat of terrorism to clamp down on domestic dissent. Burnham is absolutely correct to show that Labour is determined here to do something to protect civil liberties if the Tories threaten them further here.

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