Cameron asks Commons to back ‘snoopers’ charter’

PRIME Minister David Cameron has called for cross-party support for controversial measures dubbed “the snoopers charter” which would allow the security services to monitor online communications.

Prime Minister David Cameron making his statement. Picture: PA
Prime Minister David Cameron making his statement. Picture: PA

Giving a statement in the Commons on the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich Mr Cameron was asked about reintroducing the data communications bill by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The bill which would extend the security services reach to monitoring online private messages had been vetoed by Mr Cameron’s Lib Dem coalition partners.

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But the Prime Minister said he wanted cross party support to introduce the measures and sugggested it would not need legislation.

“There is a problem when at the moment, 95 per cent of serious crimes involve the use of communications data,” Cameron said.

“As telephony moves from fixed and mobile telephony and on to the Internet, our intelligence and police services will have a problem. We need to address this problem. We should address it in a sensitive and careful way.

“We should look at all the non-legislative options that there are, but I hope we can have a measure of cross-party support on all sides of the house to try and get this right because we will suffer if we don’t.”

Mr Cameron described the murder as “a betrayal of Islam” and has set up a special ministerial committee to tackle radicalisation.

He told MPs that the government needs to help Mosques get rid of radical preachers and have Imams who understand Briutish culture.

He also promised to tighten charity rules and tackle radicalisation on university campuses.

However, his Lib Dem partners made it clear they would oppose a data communications bill.

Cambridge Lib Dem MP Dr Julian Huppert said there should be no knee-jerk reactions to the Woolwich attack.

He said: “Will you join me in criticising those who seek to make use of the brutal murder of Drummer Rigby to advocate for the full powers of the snoopers’ charter, which would not have prevented this tragedy, but which would treat us all as suspects?”

Mr Cameron replied: “I don’t think it is helpful to refer to taking action on communications data as a snoopers’ charter.”