Clegg to signal 'most radical reforms in UK for 200 years'
Controversial Labour crime laws to be swept away and 'faith' restored
Published 19/05/2010 | 05:00
The most radical redistribution of power from the state to the people for 200 years is to be made by Britain's new coalition government, Nick Clegg will claim today.
The public will be asked what laws they want ripped up, in reforms designed to put back "faith in politics", the UK's deputy prime minister will say.
The reordering of power will sweep away Labour legislation and new criminal offences deemed to have eroded personal freedom.
It will involve the end of the controversial ID cards scheme, the scrapping of universal DNA databases -- in which the records of thousands of innocent people have been stored -- and restrictions placed on internet records. The use of CCTV cameras will also be reviewed.
The measures will close down the ContactPoint children's database. Set up by Labour last year, it includes detailed information on all 11 million youngsters under 18.
In addition, schools will not be able to take a child's fingerprints without parental permission.
In an attempt to protect freedom of speech, ministers will review libel laws, while limits on peaceful protest will be removed.
Mr Clegg said the government wanted "a fundamental resettlement of the relationship between state and citizen that puts you in charge".
In a speech in London he will say: "This government is going to transform our politics so the state has far less control over you, and you have far more control over the state. This government is going to break up concentrations of power and hand power back to people, because that is how we build a society that is fair."
He will describe the plans as "the biggest shake-up of our democracy since 1832, when the Great Reform Act redrew the boundaries of British democracy, for the first time extending the franchise beyond the landed classes".
Mr Clegg has been the most vocal of party leaders arguing for political reform. Today he can put in train the measures which, he claims, will deliver "a power revolution".
He will say that reform will not simply mean "a few new rules for MPs (or) the odd gesture or gimmick to make you feel a bit more involved".
Mr Clegg will announce that he wants to hear about which laws should be scrapped to roll back the state encroachment into people's lives.
"As we tear through the statute book, we'll do something no government ever has: We will ask you which laws you think should go.
"Because thousands of criminal offences were created under the previous government. Taking people's freedom away didn't make our streets safe.
"Obsessive law-making simply makes criminals out of ordinary people. So, we'll get rid of the unnecessary laws -- and they won't come back.
"We will introduce a mechanism to block pointless new criminal offences."
The measures to repeal so-called surveillance state laws will be included in next week's Queen's Speech. (© Daily Telegraph, London)