A BAD day for democracy was Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner’s verdict after the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday) passed a bill campaigners fear will erode civil liberties.
Mr Turner was among a cross-party group of 56 MPs who failed in a bid to block the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill — known as DRIP — which was introduced under emergency powers following agreement from the three main party leaders.
The bill will now go before the House of Lords.
Mr Turner said: "I received many e-mails passed on from campaigning groups with legal opinions that the DRIP bill was not compatible with EU law. Whilst I always value Islanders contacting me about their concerns I’m afraid such information was of limited value, there wasn’t even time for proper scrutiny of this bill, let alone judge detailed arguments from opposing lawyers.
"The ruling which led to this was made in April and following that there has been many weeks of negotiation between party leaders behind closed doors. Yet MPs were given only a matter of hours to debate it.
"Part of our job is to scrutinise legislation that was impossible yesterday.
"We all want effective ways of dealing with terrorists and paedophiles, but we are not all potential terrorists and paedophiles and without meaningful scrutiny nobody can really say what the implications of this law will be. Far more often than not, hasty legislation is bad legislation and it may well be open to legal challenge. The DRIP law is something that erodes the privacy of all and such civil liberties can seem unimportant until they are lost.
"I’m afraid that pushing through such important matters in a single day without proper scrutiny was a bad day for parliamentary democracy."