One of the most senior Jewish politicians in the Liberal Democrats has quit the party, after a disagreement over civil liberties and surveillance.

Lord (Alex) Carlile, an MP from 1983 to 1997 and latterly the former Welsh Lib Dem leader, resigned from the party in the House of Lords, with the Lib Dem leadership saying it was “disappointed but not surprised”.

Lord Alex Carlile

Lord Alex Carlile

Carlile, the son of Polish immigrants, took up law and became a QC at the age of 36. He was appointed as the government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in 2001, and helped introduce the government’s controversial control orders, which critics describe as “a prison without bars”. He later helped introduce the so-called “snooper’s charter,” which legalises bulk data collection, but which his party vehemently opposed.

He is now leading an independent review into the Church of England’s handling of child abuse allegations 70 years ago, after his appointment in November.

Lord Carlile declined to comment on his reasons for becoming a non-affiliated peer.