Woolwich: Clegg warning over ‘knee-jerk’ reactions

The Deputy Prime Minister said measures in the Communications Data Bill were 'disproportionate' and 'unworkable'. Picture: PA
The Deputy Prime Minister said measures in the Communications Data Bill were 'disproportionate' and 'unworkable'. Picture: PA
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NICK Clegg has warned against “knee-jerk” reactions to the death of soldier Lee Rigby, as he restated his opposition to the so-called “snooper’s charter”.

The Deputy Prime Minister said measures in the Communications Data Bill were “disproportionate” and “unworkable”, despite claims from Cabinet colleagues that the legislation was necessary to ensure public safety.

He also warned that any measures to ban radicals such as Anjem Choudary from TV screens would make them heroes to extremist groups.

The killing in Woolwich of Drummer Rigby prompted Home Secretary Theresa May and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to call for Communications Data Bill legislation to be resurrected. It would require internet firms to retain records of e-mails and social media messages for a year and allow police and security agencies to access the data.

Mr Clegg said: “We have got to react in a calm way but also a forensic way in deciding exactly what we can do to stop that kind of radicalisation, extremism, taking root in individuals and communities.”

He insisted he was not seeking to limit the powers of the police and security services, and said mainstream Muslim groups had been “furious” that Anjem Choudary, former leader of banned Islamic group al-Muhajiroun, was given airtime in the wake of the killing.