About the Debate

Diane Abbot AMW 2013 long 2 Sir Ian Blair JS Edited


Arguing YES, our laws do keep London safe:

Diane Abbott, MP, Hackney & Stoke Newington

Adam Wagner, Barrister, One Crown Office Row

Arguing NO, our laws don’t keep London safe:

Lord Ian Blair, Former Commissioner, Metropolitan Police

Jonathan Swift QC, 11KBW

Chaired by:

Axel Threlfall, Editor at Large, Reuters


Do our laws keep London safe from terror?

Our ability to act freely without supervision is perhaps taken for granted, but new laws are being proposed, giving the government new powers to monitor citizens.

In the wake of the horrendous attacks in Paris and the corresponding high-security threat levels worldwide, the UK’s own national security – and in particular London’s – is once again a headline topic. With the results of attacks such as that at the Bataclan concert so well-publicised and the international crisis in Syria leading to mass movements of people into Europe, have opinions changed on how far government should go to protect members of the public?

Privacy campaigners and security chiefs alike are in agreement that the current laws are outdated. The draft investigatory powers bill is designed to completely overhaul the methods by which the government gathers data for the purposes of combating crime and terror. Will the resultant laws be a triumph of technology and security, or an invasion of our rights?

Critics say that new laws could pose significant threats to privacy, while those working within security agencies argue more powers are needed to protect people. Where do you stand?

Does the UK’s counter-terrorism legislation go far enough to protect us? Is nothing off-limits under the proposed surveillance laws?

Our laws keep London safe from terror… or do they?