Lib Dem leader defends civil liberties

Nicol Stephen told the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference at the weekend that they must hold hard to the defining liberal issue of civil liberties.

Labour threatened to erode these through detention without trial, DNA databases, ID cards, biometrics, CCTV and stop-and-search powers, he told delegates in Aviemore.He said: “Our approach is founded on a fundamental principle that the rights of the individual are central to the freedoms and liberties that many Liberals have fought and died for over centuries of campaigning.”

He pointed to Labour’s attempts to push through laws allowing retention of the DNA of innocent people of all ages, and plans to link the planned ID card to students’ ability to secure a loan.

He said he had asked Alistair Carmichael at Westminster to head up a new “stop and search” LibDem hit squad to stop and search all new legislation that seeks to sneak through anything that further erodes civil liberties.