The 'strangulation of freedoms' that Davis will fight on

David Barrett,Pa
Thursday 12 June 2008 14:30 BST

David Davis listed a host of controversial developments in the arena of civil liberties as the reasons for his shock resignation.

The Counter Terror Bill and its 42-day detention measures - which he dubbed a "monstrosity of a law" - was just the latest step in the "insidious, surreptitious and relentless erosion of British freedoms", he said.

Mr Davis made clear that he would re-fight his Haltemprice and Howden constituency on the widest issue of the "slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms by this Government".

As examples of the areas which concerned him, the politician listed:

* The national ID cards project, which will see every person aged over 16 be required to register "biometrics" such as fingerprints, plus other personal information, from 2012;

* Massive expansion of CCTV, so that there is now "a camera for every 14 citizens" - an issue powerfully raised by the Information Commissioner in 2006, who said the UK had "sleep-walked into a surveillance society";

* The National DNA Database, which contains samples from a million innocent people never charged with a crime, including tens of thousands of children;

* "Short cuts" for the justice system which Mr Davis said made it "neither firm nor fair" - thought to be a reference to Labour initiatives such as on-the-spot fines and early release from prison schemes;

* An "assault on jury trial" - namely the Labour Government's measures to allow cases to be heard by a judge without a jury in complex fraud cases and where there is a risk of jury-nobbling;

* The "crackdown on peaceful protest" - a reference to the ban on unauthorised protest in and around Parliament Square introduced in 2005, and currently under review by the Home Office, which has seen protesters arrested for reading a list of the Iraq war dead and eating a cake with "Peace" written in icing;

* "So-called hate laws" which have "stifled legitimate debate".

In reference mainly to the loss of 25 million child benefit records by HM Revenue and Customs last year, Mr Davis also spoke of the Government "opening up our private lives to the prying eyes of official snoopers and exposing our personal data to careless civil servants and criminal hackers".

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