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.
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 Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
- 2 Should Apple buy Greece?
- 3 Drummer Lee Rigby's family reject 'extremist' groups using Woolwich murder for political gain
- 4 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 5 Lionel Richie at Glastonbury 2015, review: Like the anti-Kanye he delights in audience engagement
Drummer Lee Rigby's family reject 'extremist' groups using Woolwich murder for political gain
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional 'basic income'
Tunisia hotel shooting video: Dramatic footage appears to show gunman Seifeddine Rezgui running on Sousse beach
Fox News anchor asks 'what's to prevent' three people from marrying after same-sex marriage legalised
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Austerity is essential if Britain wants to reduce inequality – why can't the left-wingers who march against it realise this?
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...
£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...
£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...