Chronology of a car crash?

Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats opposed and then
criticised the control
regime while in opposition,
but reports that control orders were here to stay sparked a crisis in the
Coalition back in 2010.


Sunday 31 October 2010


Chief political
commentator at The Observer, Andrew
Rawnsley, wrote that the opposing stance of the Conservatives and the Liberal
Democrats on control orders was “dividing the intelligence services, splitting
the cabinet and has left David Cameron and Nick Clegg in a state of alarmed
semi-paralysis. It is a big test of the unity of their partnership, their
leadership mettle and their willingness to honour the promises they made in
opposition.”  >> Read


In the wake
of media coverage of the cargo bomb terror
plot, Home Secretary Theresa May seemed keen to reassure that no decision had
yet been taken telling the BBC's Andrew
Marr Show
that “we need to take some steps to rebalance national security
and civil liberties, but of course commensurate always with ensuring we can
keep this country safe.”


responding to Andrew Rawnsley’s reports
of tensions with Lord Macdonald of
the outcome of the review she explicitly played down his involvement, saying “Lord Macdonald is doing a specific job,
which is looking at the review which is taking place.  He is ensuring that the process of that
review is a proper one because the review itself is an internal review….That is
the job Lord Macdonald is doing –
but ultimately, the decision on what is in place in terms of our counter-terrorism legislation is a decision for government.” >> Watch


Later that
day on The Politics Show Liberal
Democrat Energy Secretary Chris Huhne reiterated his opposition to control orders, saying: “We voted against control orders repeatedly and I think that all of us in
government frankly want to preserve the rule of law. It's an absolute key part
of our tradition.” >> Watch


Tuesday 2 November


Asked on
the Daily Politics Show how he would vote
if the Home Secretary decided not to scrap control orders, Conservative MP
David Davis said ''I will oppose it. I will think it's wrong. Full stop.''


The former
shadow home secretary warned that the Prime Minister would find a “problem on a
major scale” if he tried to force renewal of the measure: ''You've probably got
25 Lib Dem MPs who would find trouble voting for this. I suspect as many Tory
MPs as well, maybe more. Certainly many more who are worried about it.''  >> Watch


Wednesday 3 November


In her speech to the Royal United Services
Institute, the Home Secretary Theresa
May was again keen to make clear that the Government’s Counter Terror Review would result in "significant changes”
and added that “we will emerge with a much better balance than we have at
present … I don't think the previous government got the balance right, but let
me make clear. I will do absolutely nothing that will put at risk Britain's
national security." >> Read


Thursday 4 November


Speaking to
the Financial Times Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said his views on control
orders “haven't changed”, and that they are ”a fairly dramatic departure from basic
due process under which people's liberty can be curtailed without evidence
being produced that would lead to their prosecution”.


added:  “Clearly there will be people
with other points of view in the coalition.” >> Read


When the
question ‘Should we have control orders
or not?’ came up on Question Time,
Liberal Democrat Foreign Office
Minister Jeremy Browne appeared to defend the control order
regime. In answer to a question from the audience about the dangers of putting
people under house arrest on the basis of secret evidence, he said "if the
intelligence services knew that an individual this weekend was wanting to
commit an atrocity that would kill more
than the number of people in this room….put yourself in that position, that is
the genuine difficulty we are having to confront".  He also said that the Government would listen
to the conclusions of Sir Ken Macdonald when the counter-terror review reports. >> Watch

Sunday 7 November

Comments reported in
the Observer apparently signalled
a change in the security service's previously unequivocal support for control
orders. According to the article by Home Affairs Editor Mark Townsend, a senior
security source has said that MI5 is "not wedded" to keeping the policy in
place. >> Read

Monday 29 November

Lord Carlile, the Government's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, announced in the Daily Telegraph that control orders could be replaced with a three-tier system of restrictions - including curfews and restrictions on travel - to avoid a Cabinet split on the issue. >> Read

In a brief acceptance speech at Liberty's Human Rights Awards, Conservative MP David Davis firmly re-stated his opposition to control orders, saying that if the Government wanted to live up to its coalition agreement, "they've got to
get rid of control orders".

Saturday 1 January 2011


joined with human rights campaigning groups from across the world to sign a
statement condemning control orders as punishment without trial and a serious violation
of democratic values. >> Read



Sunday 2 January 2011


The Sunday Times reported that following negotiation between
ministers the Cabinet is preparing to scrap control orders, ending the use of
electronic tags and home curfews and allowing terror suspects to use mobile
phones and computers, and to travel freely within the UK. The introduction of
an alternative scheme has been suggested, although full details
of what form it might take and whether it would be substantially different from
the existing regime aren't yet available. >> Read

Tuesday 4 January


The Guardian's political editor
Patrick Wintour wrote that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg could be forced to
compromise on control orders, as Home Secretary Theresa May still backs revising
the scheme rather than scrapping it altogether. Wintour wrote:
"Faced by growing calls from senior
former cabinet members to retain control orders, it appears that the Liberal
Democrat leader is willing to seek a compromise, and will recognise that some
form of replacement to control orders is necessary - even though in opposition
he called for their outright abolition."


The article also
that senior Conservative Sir Malcolm
Rifkind, chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, said control orders
were the "least unsatisfactory method" of controlling dangerous terror
suspects. >> Read

The Telegraph reported that former
Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard MP had declared his support for the
control order scheme, saying: “Now if there is some alternative – it’s not easy
to think of one – then of course it should be considered. But if there is no
alternative way of keeping safe then I think control orders need to be kept.” >> Read

Wednesday 5


While on a visit to Leicester Prime Minister David Cameron answered a BBC question about
control orders saying: "The control order system is imperfect. Everybody knows
that. There have been people who've absconded from control orders. It hasn't
been a success. We need a proper replacement and I'm confident we'll agree one."

He added: "It's not
about a victory for the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats. It's about
trying to do the right thing for our country, for the security of our country
and our civil liberties." >> Read

Friday 7 January

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg criticized the control order regime in a
speech on civil liberties, given at the Institute of Government.  Although no
details were announced on legislative proposals, he said ‘I don’t think it’s
justifiable to impose virtual house arrest without having to charge or convict
someone first’.   Pending the long-awaited Counter-Terror review, Clegg declined
to say what would replace control orders but described the discredited regime as
a ‘departure from our long held commitment to open



Help end
control orders now by supporting our Unsafe Unfair campaign - email your MP and pass on our 'what they said' slideshow.