Civil liberties: Clegg pledges reform for control orders

LIBERAL Democrat leader Nick Clegg signalled yesterday that key elements of control orders would be reformed as he pledged to "resurrect" civil liberties in Britain.

But the Deputy Prime Minister admitted that the controversial restrictions would not be removed altogether, because a "small number" of dangerous terror suspects could not be dealt with by the traditional justice system.

The comments came after intense wrangling within the coalition over what to do about control orders. The Liberal Democrats promised to scrap them at the General Election, but many Tories believe they are necessary to keep the public safe.

Delivering a speech on civil liberties in central London, Mr Clegg insisted it was "nonsense" to suggest that decisions on anti-terror measures were being taken through a "party political prism".

The Government's first duty was "to keep the British people safe" and the threat from terrorists was "very, very real".

But he added: "I don't think it's justifiable to impose virtual house arrest without having to charge or convict someone first."