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GORDON HENDERSON MP

FOR SITTINGBOURNE & SHEPPEY

Time to cut back the Big Brother state

Gordon Henderson has welcomed news that a future Conservative Government will drastically scale back the intrusive and ineffective ‘Big Brother’ state. New policies by Conservatives are pledging to offer an alternative to Whitehall’s curtailment of civil liberties and stop taxpayers’ money being wasted on expensive and ineffective IT databases.

This comes amid growing concern about the Government’s new Independent Safeguarding Authority. This scheme could force 11 million adults to be vetted and monitored – even if they just give lifts to children as part of a school run or local football club.

Conservative proposals include:
• Scrapping the National Identity Register, which will contain personal details of every citizen, and abolishing the Identity Cards that will accompany the database.
• Ditching the ContactPoint database – which holds the names, dates of birth, schools and home addresses of all 11 million children in England until the age of 18, but is entirely separate from the children at risk registers.
• Ending the permanent retention of innocent people’s DNA on the National DNA database.
• Preventing councils from using controversial anti-terror laws to spy on local citizens; surveillance could only be used where necessary to stop a serious crime (involving a custodial sentence) and where a magistrates’ warrant has been obtained.
• Subjecting all new laws to a new ‘privacy’ test, and beefing up the role of the privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner.

Mr Henderson said:
“The present Government has a lamentable record when it comes to civil liberties. They have slowly eroded our personal privacy with policies that are intrusive, ineffective and enormously expensive. The sad truth is that Labour’s Big Brother tendencies and an over-reliance on databases has exposed the public in Swale to greater risk, not less.

“The Independent Safeguarding Authority is a case in point. This nanny state organisation will do nothing to safeguard the children most at risk. Of course checks are needed on those who have jobs working with children, but vetting one in four of the population is complete nonsense and will have a detrimental affect on some small sports clubs and out of school activities organised by parents.”

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