More than ever before we are facing questions of how, in the internet age, we maintain our security while preserving our civil liberties. As the Liberal Democrat Minister in the Home Office, I am constantly aware of the challenge. We are a party that cares deeply about civil liberties, but we are also a party that believes we have to take the appropriate steps to protect the public. Liberty and security must go hand in hand. We can’t enjoy our freedom if we’re unable to keep ourselves safe.
Today the Government has taken the unusual step of introducing emergency legislation, on a temporary basis, in order to maintain the current powers used by police and security services. This is in response to a pressing threat that the phone and internet companies will, in the coming weeks, stop providing data that is essential for investigations. Liberal Democrats in government have taken the opportunity this situation presents to open the door to a much wider debate about the reform of our surveillance laws.