Flanked by David Davis and William Hague, David Cameron has today made his first major statement on homeland security since becoming Tory leader and he took the opportunity to distance himself from Labour.  Little space in the speech was devoted to civil liberties.  The speech was a more traditional Tory message – emphasising protection of the public from the growing terror threats.  According to the Daily Mail he also declined to rule out controversial profiling of likely bombers during airport security screening.  "What’s right in terms of intelligence and policing" should determine security procedures, he said, and not "politically correct judgments".  Within his prepared remarks Mr Cameron emphasised:

  • greater funding of domestic security services;
  • the admission of intercept evidence in court;
  • the appointment of a single minister committed to homeland security efforts;
  • a dedicated borders police; and
  • less tolerance of Islamic extremism within Britain.

You can read the statement in full on but here are some key extracts:

"On Police and security, we are extremely concerned that
Gordon Brown has pre-empted his own Comprehensive Spending Review to
freeze the Home Office budget for the next three years….

On enforcing our existing laws and strengthening them where
necessary, we need to legislate to make intercept evidence admissible
in court.  We have been arguing for this for some time.  We are glad
the Government has come round to our view, and we will help implement
this necessary change quickly.  We also call on the Government to
implement other measures that will help protect our security.  These

  • a dedicated Minister to pull together counter-terrorism efforts;
  • a dedicated border police;
  • and a new Bill of Rights, so that we can replace the Human Rights Act and better defend our security and our freedoms.

In the meantime, Ministers must focus on what more can be done to enforce our existing law.  There are important questions to answer:

  • Why have so few, if any, preachers of hate been prosecuted or expelled, with those that have gone having done so voluntarily?
  • And why has so little been done to use the existing law to deal with the radicalisation that is rife within our shores?
  • Why is the Government still funding conferences
    addressed by Yusuf Qaradawi, the preacher who said, “We must plant the
    love of death in the Islamic nation”?
  • Why has so little been done to minimise the impact of imams
    who come to Britain and preach, often with little knowledge or
    appreciation of British values?

Again, we have made constructive suggestions to strengthen the
fabric of our society, including proposals for school exchanges and a
national school leaver programme, teaching English to new arrivals, and
proper teaching of history to all our children. 
A year ago I
supported the proposal by Dr Siddiqui, Leader of the Muslim Parliament,
for the establishment of a Mosques Commission to provide proper
regulatory oversight of mosques, and ensure the involvement of young
people in their management committees."

Editor’s note: "ConservativeHome warmly welcomes this new emphasis.  The security situation is only going to worsen over coming years and Britain’s voters will want a Government that prioritises their security.  Labour talks tough on homeland security but only offers incompetence and what David Cameron has called ineffective authoritarianism.  With David Davis, the Tory leader must keep on this theme – constantly assuring the British people that a Conservative Government will do its utmost to keep them as safe as possible."

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