David Davis

Brown’s security strategy is the worst of all worlds

It’s draconian, expensive and ineffective, says David Davis. All the evidence shows that the Prime Minister is eroding our civil liberties pointlessly

It’s draconian, expensive and ineffective, says David Davis. All the evidence shows that the Prime Minister is eroding our civil liberties pointlessly

As shadow home secretary for five years, it became an office joke that, faced with difficult policy questions, I would demand ‘get me the evidence!’ I am a scientist by training and, while 69 per cent of the public believe I took a principled stance in resigning from Parliament, that decision was also based on a rigorous empirical assessment of the evidence. The reality is that the relentless stream of repressive measures taken by this government over the last eleven years — whether 42 days pre-charge detention or any other — has not made us any safer. In many cases, they have jeopardised our security. In other cases, they are an irrelevant distraction — of time, resources and energy — from the real job at hand, namely protecting the public.

Terrified of the electorate, Gordon Brown decided that Labour would not contest the by-election occasioned by my resignation, even gagging ministers from debating the government’s record. Yet he could not resist responding to my resignation in a speech he gave on 17 June in the cosy confines of his favourite think-tank. That speech made two things crystal clear. First, he stands behind the sustained assault on British liberty, so expect more to come. Second, he has no idea about the effectiveness of his security policies.

Take 42 days. Mr Brown said it was difficult to claim that the change in the terrorist threat was not ‘serious enough to justify change in our laws’. Yet he offered no evidence to justify yet another extension — the limit quadrupled between 2003 and 2005 — which explains why the Director of Public Prosecutions concluded that the 42 days proposal was ‘unnecessary’ and ‘irrelevant’.

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