From across the pond: A freedom test for legislation

Thanks to Dodgeblog for pointing me at a most interesting proposal from Oliver Letwin in the U.K. Telegraph, in which he proposes that a “liberty test” be applied to any new law being proposed:
My suggestion is that each piece of legislation should have to be accompanied by an explicit, detailed and reasoned statement from the sponsoring minister, explaining how that piece of legislation will affect the liberties of the individual. The idea for such a test for legislation came out of the Free Country conference in London in May, which was sponsored by The Daily Telegraph.
A requirement for such a statement would have two principal effects. First, it would compel civil servants, when preparing legislation, to consider the effects on our liberty and would thereby prompt discussion of those effects between civil servants and ministers before the legislation was introduced to a wider audience.

It should come as no surprise to TTLB readers that I think this is a splendid idea, particularly given my recent rantings on how freedom is an excellent basis for a consistent and workable moral code.
Letwin also notes how (in his view, at least) the Tory’s have historically been the party to defend the liberty of the individual in the U.K. I find it a shame that their American counterparts in the Republican party have failed in recent times to similiarly recapture their historic grounding as defenders of freedom. (Party of Lincoln and all that, let’s recall… )