Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Theresa May’s statement goes down so well, MPs seek encore
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Thursday 10 July 2014
Theresa May’s Commons statement went down well today with her own backbenchers. So much so that many of them asked her questions she had already answered. It would have saved time if they had devised a composite: “Does my Right Honourable Friend agree that thanks to the ‘Government’s laser-like focus on keeping British families safe’ (Julian Smith), she has produced a “replacement of pre-existing powers to ensure that criminals do not slip through the net and escape justice” (Andrew Jones), and that “if there is a choice between their children being blown up on the Tube or those people’s conversations being listened to, it is a no-brainer” (Edward Leigh).
Not everyone agreed with the new spirit of cross-party front-bench consensus, of course. The lone Tory dissident, David Davis, complained that Ms May was “rushing through” a Bill whose need had been long foreseen. And Labour’s Tom Watson predicted that it would be seen as “a last-minute deal between elites”. But even this had to be balanced against the Tory Philip Hollobone’s praise for Ms May’s protection of “the civil liberties of those of us who do not want to be blown up”. Doubtless unintentionally, he made it sound as though not wanting to be blown up were a minority interest, like Morris dancing or stamp collecting.
Earlier, David Cameron and Nick Clegg saw journalists together as part of a rare emergency intra-coalition truce. A feature of these high-octane security press conferences in coalition is that both men have to speak in turn, so Clegg can translate basically the same answer into Libdemese. So, for example, Clegg emphasised that “this has. Nothing. To do with. The so-called snooper’s charter” (which he had blocked).
They agreed the Bill was now needed to maintain checks on “terrorists, paedophiles and criminals”, as Cameron repeatedly put it. But there seemed to be differences on what both men kept calling – bafflingly for those who may have temporarily forgotten the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (Ripa) – “the ripper review”. Post-Snowden revelations, the Lib Dems and Labour seem to want the two-year review to lead, as Yvette Cooper put it, to “safeguards ... needed to make sure people’s privacy is protected in an internet age.” Whereas Ms May wants a “wider review about the powers we need against the threat context we have.” Powers, in other words, to maintain the blanket year-long internet trail known to critics as the “snooper’s charter”.
Ms May’s last question was asked by the Tory (Colonel) Bob Stewart. Except, actually, it wasn’t a question at all but a portentous declaration that “I believe we have a duty to pass this fast-track legislation quickly”. Yes Bob. That’s the general idea. Or is a second-reading debate on Tuesday and all done by Thursday not fast enough for you?
- 1 Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Kate Upton nude photos leak: Model's spokespeople 'looking into' authenticity of indecent images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£65000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: One of the global leaders in fina...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Deputy Education Manager (permanent ...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Group: We are looking for an outstandi...