Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Coalition Government: the agreement: Next election 7th May 2015

The agreement between the parties forming the coalition government has been published - see here or here  (A final coalition agreement is to be published later)

Paragraph 10 is important since it seeks to "reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour government." 

There will be a Freedom or Great Repeal Bill - (no specific detail of its contents as yet)

ID cards, the national ID register will be scrapped as will the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database

It will become unlawful to fingerprint children at school without parental consent

The scope of the Freedom of Information Act will be extended

The DNA database will have similar protections to the Scottish model - [the difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK was a point made by the European Court of Human Rights in the Marper case]

Defend trial by jury

Restore rights to NON-violent protest

Review libel laws to protect freedom of speech

Prevent misuse of anti-terrorism legislation

Further regulation of CCTV

End storage of internet and e-mail without good reason

A new mechanism to prevent proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences

Other sections of the document are also important.  There will be legislation to have fixed term parliaments of 5 years - (thereby removing the Prime Minister's traditional nuclear option of controlling the election date); legislation to bring about the Alternative Vote system of elections for the Commons; recall of MPs guilty of serious wrongdoing; a committee to consider House of Lords reform and to bring forward proposals by December 2010; a committee to consider the "West Lothian Question"; a referendum lock to prevent further transfer of powers to the EU.  The agreement contains these and many other ideas.

Whilst many of the details are yet to emerge, the agreement appears to offer a major legislative programme for a full parliament.

Addendum 17th May:  Work is beginning on reversing the ban on "intercept evidence" in criminal proceedings - see The Guardian 17th May.


  1. Naturally an optimist I think it looks promising but it looks as if the media has ganged up to prevent it working. The Guardian and the Mail are in full attack mode from the Left and Right and the others aren't much better. Glad to see the back of both Straw and Johnson (and all those other Home Secretaries) as well as foot-in the-mouth Grayling and at least we may now get rid of some promised legislation instead of constant new stuff.

  2. Onlooker - thanks for your observations. Yes, I have also thought that some elements of the media are in "find any fault you can" mode. It would be better to give the new government a "fair wind" and see that happens.

    The actions the new government takes will be all important. I await the detail with interest since, as ever, the devil will be in the detail. I hope, as I am sure do you, that some of the legislative excesses of the last few years are removed or, at the very least, made more acceptable.

    The new government will be under enormous pressure not to make certain changes - e.g. ID cards have their supporters.