Along with a former MP, a lord and MEP, a fair chunk of the Liberal Democrat Voice team and 4 fellow members of the Federal Executive, I am a signatory to a letter from 116 Liberal Democrat members asking MPs to vote against secret courts today in the House of Commons.
The letter says:
We are writing to urge all MPs to do the right thing by voting against Part II of the Justice and Security Bill when it has its Report stage in the Commons today.
The Justice and Security Bill runs a coach and horses through fair trial guarantees which have been part of our country's constitution since the Civil War and which were first enshrined in the Magna Carta. The secret court measures contained in the Bill could even apply to habeas corpus proceedings.
The stakes for our country could not be higher. The "War on Terror" led to many mistakes: liberty was sacrificed in the name of security. This led directly to British agents facilitating kidnap and torture such as the cases of Binyam Mohammed and Abdul-Hakim Belhaj. For those who are victims of such crimes to be shut out of the trials of their own claims for damages runs totally contrary to any notion of justice.
As the Special Advocates reiterated last week, the case for this Bill has not been made. The Joint Committee on Human Rights reported on 28th February 2013 that the government has failed to meet its requirements to make "Closed Material Procedures" less unfair.
We call on all MPs now to act before it is too late, and they become complicit in irrevocable damage to our constitution.
This issue goes beyond party politics. However, as Liberal Democrats the protection of civil liberties is of crucial importance. We are looking to Nick Clegg to lead the Liberal Democrat MPs in opposition to the Bill.
Opposition to Part II is what liberal democracy demands of us. Secret courts must not form any part of the legacy of a government in which Liberal Democrats have a role.You can find out who the rest of the signatories are here. And if you are so moved, and you're a Federal Conference representative,