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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 11:21 GMT
Lib Dems seek mass repeal of laws
Sir Menzies Campbell
Sir Menzies says an excessive number of laws has been passed
The Liberal Democrats have called for a mass repeal of 10 parliamentary acts passed by Labour since 1997.

A "freedom bill" sets out plans to abolish ID cards, control orders for terror suspects and to end extradition to the US "without proper evidence".

The Lib Dems also pledge to end the storage of DNA details of people never charged or convicted of crimes.

Party leader Sir Menzies Campbell says Labour is addicted to making laws and has created "legislative madness".

'Illiberal laws'

He added: "It feeds its appetite for headlines with proposals and bills that are often confusing and repetitious."

The Lib Dems say the government has passed 365 acts and 32,000 Statutory Instruments - rules and regulations made by ministers - since 1997.

Parliament needs to show that it is as serious about repealing legislation as it is about passing it
Sir Menzies Campbell

This equates to 114,000 pages, or seven full editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, they claim.

The freedom bill proposes scrapping 10 pieces of "illiberal or unnecessary legislation".

This would include abolishing restrictions on protests in Parliament Square and removing police powers to impose conditions on public assemblies.

Also proposed is repealing the home secretary's right to criminalise trespass in designated areas.

The Lib Dems want to abolish laws that remove the "public interest defence" for whistleblowers - employees who report misconduct - and to ban the use of "hearsay evidence" in court.

'Tip of the iceberg'

The party is also promising to end all restrictions on the right to silence after arrest.

Sir Menzies said the laws were the "tip of the iceberg", adding: "We need a government that understands that when it comes to making new laws, it is quality, not quantity, that counts."

He added: "Parliament needs to show that it is as serious about repealing legislation as it is about passing it.

"We need to remove excessive laws and show that, by legislating less, we can legislate better."

The bill would also include a three-point plan for constitutional checks and balances to make it easier to repeal laws.

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