Shami Chakrabarti Has ‘Sold The Final Bit Of Her Credibility’ In Abstaining On Snoopers’ Charter

In her former role as Director of Liberty, Chakrabarti was deeply opposed to the so-called Snoopers’ Charter.

Writing in the Morning Star in November, she called it “extraordinarily intrusive” and said “we need to tell our MPs that we won’t stand for a Bill that makes us less safe and far less free”.

In the same month, in a blog for Liberty, she wrote: “We must now look to Parliament to step in where Ministers have failed and strike a better balance between privacy and surveillance.”

In February, calling for the bill to be re-written, she said “The government needs to pause, take stock and redraft – to do anything else would show astonishing contempt for parliamentarians’ concerns and our national security”.

In the same month, she told HuffPostUK:  “This report shows just how much homework the Government has to do on this landmark legislation. Despite reams of evidence from the Home Office, the Committee finds the case for unprecedented powers to bulk hack, intercept and collect our private data has not been made”.

In March, she called existing amendments to the Bill “minor botox” which “had not fixed” it, and in June, she said challenging the bill would involve “real attention and effort from parliamentarians across the parties”.

In a recent lecture to Hertford College, she said: “The spooks call it the Communications Data Bill and we call it snoopers’ charter. Words are so important in defence of human rights.) There were occasionally debates about pieces of draft legislation that might have been adopted to allow for greater pieces of blanket surveillance for all sorts of laudable reasons like fighting terrorism and online child abuse and so on. But those bills did not pass. And they were doing it anyway”.

A Lib Dem Spokesperson called on Labour to “grow a backbone” on the bill.

“This is a bad Bill that turns each one of us into suspects. We will oppose the Government’s plan to collect and store all of our web histories and try to improve transparency and oversight arrangements”, they said.

We hope, that now Labour’s top team on this Bill have all previously spoken out against it, we will see a change of heart from them and that they will join us in the lobby.

There is still time to stop this bad piece of legislation but it will require Labour to grow a backbone.” 

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