Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has quashed reports that the government is to legalise web and telephone surveillance, after telling reporters that he heard that Teresa May had told Ken Clarke that she’d read an email from the Prime Minister to Ed Davey in which he said the plan didn’t have his support.
‘I was standing authoritatively in the corridor outside the Cabinet room, decisively considering whether to go to the toilet or make a mug of coffee, when I overheard Teresa May say exactly that,’ Mr Clegg said. ‘I am completely opposed to snooping in any form, and I know my Cabinet colleagues agree with me because Vince Cable left a policy paper on his desk yesterday on which Cheryl Gillan had written that the Attorney General agreed with her that this kind of intrusive surveillance is quite wrong.’
Questioned over how he had obtained access to the Business Secretary’s confidential paper, Mr Clegg insisted that there had been ‘no wrongdoing’. ‘I knew the paper was there because I picked up an internal phone and unwittingly overheard Vince talking to Francis Maude saying he’d left it behind,’ he claimed defiantly. ‘I went to get it for him and accidentally performed an act of surveillance while I was carrying it. Is that so wrong? Well, yes, I suppose it is. What are you doing to do, put me on trial without a jury? Don’t be ridiculous.’