Revelations about Britain's intelligence agencies 'chipping away' at public support for their work, says Nick Clegg

Deputy PM responds to recent disclosure that Blair government gave US permission to store and analyse email, mobile phone and internet records of potentially millions of Britons

The stream of revelations about the activities of Britain's intelligence agencies was “chipping away” at public support for their work, Nick Clegg has warned.

The Deputy Prime Minister was speaking after the disclosure that the Blair government gave the United States permission to store and analyse the email, mobile phone and internet records of potentially millions of Britons.

It also emerged that America security officials drew up plans to spy on UK citizens unilaterally, without the knowledge of the British government.

Earlier this month The Independent highlighted concerns that a covert listening-post was operating from the roof of the British embassy in Berlin.

Mr Clegg said proper accountability of the intelligence services, as well as checks they used their eavesdropping powers proportionately, were essential to increase public confidence in them.

He said that was important “because of course, with each passing day, with all of these revelations, you chip away at the bedrock of public support for the work of the agencies and that is a dangerous thing”.

The Deputy Prime Minister conceded the system of oversight for the intelligence services was “quite opaque” and signalled he was sympathetic to a wide-ranging inquiry into their activities and powers.

“I have an open mind about how you try and capture all these different issues to make sure we keep up with this revolution in the power of these information technologies which are now available to our intelligence agencies and also, of course, are available to people who want to do us harm,” he said.

Speaking on his weekly LBC 97.3 phone-in show, Mr Clegg paid tribute to the diligence and professionalism of the security agencies .

He added: “It is also clear the technologies which are now used by our security agencies are far, far more powerful and are able to store and analyse data on a scale we've never known before. We've simply never known before the ability now to hoover up, analyse, discard, process information is now on a scale which was unimaginable just even a few years ago.”

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Green Recruitment Company: Operations Manager - Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Operation...

Recruitment Genius: IT Projects Engineer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Account Director - OTE £60,000

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Inbound Sales Executive

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Inbound Sales Executive is required t...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent