This provocative book confronts the corrosion of civil liberties under successive New Labour governments since 1997. It argues that the last decade has seen a wholesale failure of constitutional principle and exposed the futility of depending on legal rights to restrict the power of executive government. It considers the steps necessary to prevent the continued decline of political standards, arguing that only through rebalancing political power can civil liberties be adequately protected. Relying on extensive new research of inaccessible sources, the book examines the major battlegrounds over civil liberties under New Labour, including the growth and abuse of police power, state surveillance and counter-terrorist measures. It unfolds a compelling narrative of the major battles fought before Parliament and in the courts, and attacks the failure of the political and legal systems to offer protection to those suffering abuses of their civil liberty at the hands of an aggressive Executive. In doing so, it offers a definitive account of the struggle for civil liberty in modern Britain, and a controversial argument for the reforms necessary to contain executive power.
Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King's College London, and is one of the country's leading civil liberties lawyers. He is the author of Freedom under Thatcher: Civil Liberties in Modern Britain (with Conor Gearty) and his other books include The Right to Strike and The Struggle for Civil Liberties (also with Conor Gearty).