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Protection of Freedoms Bill

Part of Resource Extraction (Transparency and Reporting) – in the House of Commons at 5:37 pm on 1st March 2011.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department 5:37 pm, 1st March 2011

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Today we have a rare opportunity. The Bill gives us a chance to roll back the creeping intrusion of the state into our everyday lives, and to return individual freedoms to the heart of our legislation. Under the last Government, we saw a steady erosion of traditional British liberties and a slow march towards authoritarian government. They presented us with a false choice between our future security and our historic liberties, disregarding any notion of balance between the two.

The House rejected that choice on many noble occasions, notably when an extraordinary attempt was made to increase the period of pre-charge detention of terrorist suspects to 90 days. On other occasions, illiberal laws were passed, and on yet others, well-intentioned schemes were left open to abuse. The Bill gives us an opportunity to redress the balance and to right some of those wrongs, although it is not the only such opportunity. We have already repealed some measures, and we will repeal others.