James Forsyth

Prism controversy will deepen coalition divisions over the snooper’s charter

Prism controversy will deepen coalition divisions over the snooper’s charter
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GCHQ’s use of the US monitoring system Prism is threatening to turn into a major political row. Douglas Alexander is demanding that William Hague come to the House of Commons to explain what GCHQ was doing and what the legal basis for it was.

But this controversy is going to have an effect on coalition relations too. It is going to intensify Liberal Democrat opposition to the measures included in the Communications Data Bill. This comes at a time when David Cameron has decided, as he made clear in the Commons on Monday, that the measures in it are needed.

In the United States, the Obama administration is pushing back against criticism of the programme. The New York Times reports that a plot to bomb the New York subway was supposedly foiled through communications intercepted via this system.