EXCL: Lord Carlile quits as Lib Dem peer over security policy differences

Posted On: 
13th January 2017

A Liberal Democrat peer has quit the party in the Lords over disagreements with the leadership on surveillance policy.

Lord Carlile disagreed with party policy on the Snooper's Charter, among other issues
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Lord Carlile resigned the party whip and will sit as a non-affiliated peer after long finding himself “at odds” with senior figures on security issues.

The former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman has clashed with colleagues in the past over his support for the so-called Snooper's Charter.

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He called for it to be fast-tracked through parliament in 2015 in order to keep Britons safe from terrorism, and complained in 2013 when then Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg "torpedoed" the measures. 

Lord Carlile felt the party “was not taking a strong enough line in support of surveillance," a senior Lib Dem source told PoliticsHome.

“He was unhappy with our stance on the Snooper’s Charter,” the source added. “We made a big thing about voting against the Data Communications Bill and he didn’t like that at all.”

A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “We are disappointed but not surprised at Lord Carlile’s decision.

“He has been at odds with party policy on a number of occasions in recent years, especially over civil liberties.

"We are grateful for his years of service to the party and wish him well in future. “

Lord Carlile became a peer in 1999 after serving as an MP for more than a decade.