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11.30 pm

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ruth Kelly): The hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) fundamentally misunderstands the nature of these clauses. Clause 17 is designed to clarify for public officials in what circumstances they may disclose information. I think that many Members will recognise the need for that clarification. If the clause were restricted to terrorist offences, it would be a significant impediment because the public official in each case would have to satisfy himself in advance of any disclosure whether the information was directly related to a terrorism

26 Nov 2001 : Column 794

investigation. That does nothing to harmonise requirements or to make it simple for public officials to understand what they are supposed to disclose.

Mr. Grieve: We do not want to make it simple. I am sure that the Minister will agree that each of the sections of each of the Acts listed in schedule 4 contain specific protections. She can read them. I quoted section 28(7) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. Protection exists, but she intends to get rid of it. That is hardly a clarification.

Ruth Kelly: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, but it again shows that he fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the clause.

The hon. Gentleman disputes the fact that the clause contains safeguards. I guarantee that it provides strong safeguards for the disclosure of information. I emphasise that all the gateways in clause 17 are pre-existing: they have already been approved by the House, and nothing new is being debated today. They refer to specific information covered by existing statutory restrictions on disclosure. Safeguards are provided by the Human Rights Act 1998 and by the Data Protection Act 1984, and they still apply, so any information that is disclosed must be proportionate, necessary and lawful.

Mr. Grieve: If the Data Protection Act is supposed to apply to clause 17, why is it cited specifically in respect of clause 19 but not in respect of clause 17?

Ruth Kelly: Such provisions could have been included, but it was decided that that would confuse certain other issues—[Interruption]. Not in relation to this clause, but in relation to other measures. I can tell the hon. Gentleman, however—I see that the hon. Member for West Dorset (Mr. Letwin), who is sitting beside him, agrees—that the Data Protection and the Human Rights Acts apply to clause 17. If he disputes that, we can perhaps continue to debate it, but it is the case. What we are talking about is widening gateways to include criminal investigations and proceedings, and harmonising various Acts.

Mr. Garnier: The Minister says that the Human Rights Act applies to the provisions she has just described. Following very limited debate, the Government disapplied the European convention on human rights only the other day. What guarantee have we that they will not do the same again?

Ruth Kelly: That is completely separate. It has nothing to do with clause 17. The fact is that the existing safeguards in regard to the existing gateways—the Data Protection and the Human Rights Acts—apply. They are strong provisions, and we are merely widening them to include the disclosure of information for the purposes of criminal investigations and proceedings.

Lembit Öpik (Montgomeryshire): Is there not a strategic issue here? The question of disclosure underlies what we feel is the erosion of civil liberties and privacy. At what point will the Government accept that preserving civil liberties is more important than their hunger to legislate in this way?

Ruth Kelly: The safeguards in the clause are very strong, and I believe that they protect existing civil

26 Nov 2001 : Column 795

liberties. Information that is disclosed is disclosed voluntarily, and disclosure must be necessary, proportionate and lawful.

I consider that restricting the wording to "terrorism" would limit and severely weaken the Bill. Those who accept the need to widen the gateways to include investigations as well as proceedings will see that it is difficult for public officials to know whether specific acts are related to terrorism. Serious crimes such as drug dealing and money laundering, for instance, are often intimately linked with crimes of terrorism. Restricting the wording in this way would severely inhibit our ability to pursue anti-terrorism measures and to conquer terrorism.

Mr. Letwin: I have two questions. First, if there is a contradiction between clause 17 and the Data Protection Act, would the clause—given that it would be passed after the Act—supervene? Secondly, how could restricting the wording to "terrorism" cause difficulty in the pursuit of an investigation relating to terrorism?

Ruth Kelly: I do not believe there is any contradiction between the Data Protection Act and clause 17. It is clear that both the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act apply in this case.

I forget the hon. Gentleman's second question. Will he remind me? [Laughter.]

Mr. Letwin: No, that is perfectly fair. I am sorry for having asked two questions in one.

The Parliamentary Under–Secretary of State for the Home Department (Angela Eagle): The hon. Gentleman should not be patronising.

Mr. Letwin: I am not trying to be patronising; I am trying to be fair. How could restricting the clause to cases of terrorism restrict an investigation of terrorist activities?

Ruth Kelly: We are widening existing gateways to include disclosure of information relating to instances of pursued investigations, and helping authorities to decide whether to instigate such investigations. It is not at all clear that, if the provision were linked directly to terrorism, it would be easy for a public official to determine whether a serious crime such as money laundering or drug trafficking would turn out to be related to terrorism. We aim in clause 17 to make it as easy as possible for the authorities to tackle terrorism effectively.

Mr. Letwin: Surely the Minister recognises that the Opposition are simply trying to restrict the provision to cases in which there is a reasonable suspicion of terrorism and therefore an investigation into terrorism. She has not yet addressed the issue of how such a restriction could possibly restrict an investigation into terrorism.

Ruth Kelly: As I said, it is quite clear that many serious crimes are intimately linked to terrorism. It is potentially even more difficult for public officials to determine whether certain acts of a criminal nature that are committed abroad are linked to terrorism. [Interruption.] I feel that I have dealt fully with the hon. Gentleman's interventions.

26 Nov 2001 : Column 796

Mr. Paul Marsden: I mistakenly thought that the Bill dealt with terrorism, not crime. I cannot for the life of me understand why we are not narrowing the legislation to take targeted action on terrorists, which everyone tells us is necessary, except that the Government wish to bulldoze civil liberties at a great rate of knots in the little time remaining for consideration of the Bill. We should not simply throw the net as wide as possible to catch everyone including criminals within it. That is what is being proposed. Consequently, in the years to come we shall undoubtedly face umpteen injustices—[Interruption.] The legislation is badly thought out, and the Minister has the lamentable task of implementing it—[Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. Hon. Members are expected to be heard when they are making a contribution.

Ruth Kelly: There is nothing new in the Bill other than the widening of existing—[Hon. Members: "Gateways."]—gateways for the disclosure of information—[Interruption.]

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. The House must come to order. The Minister is responding to an intervention.

Ruth Kelly: The clause widens provision for the disclosure of information to include criminal investigations as well as proceedings.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Hull, North): Will my hon. Friend give way?

Ruth Kelly: No; I have already taken a significant number of interventions.

We see clause 17 as fundamental to the fight against terrorism. It is essential that we use all the means at our disposal to crack down on terrorism. It is absolutely right that information should be disclosed to us by public authorities in that manner.

Simon Hughes: I simply ask that the Question be put.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 213, Noes 330.

Division No. 85
[11.43 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Barker, Gregory
Barnes, Harry
Baron, John
Barrett, John
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bellingham, Henry
Bennett, Andrew
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, Rt Hon Iain
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Fisher, Mark
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gibb, Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Horam, John
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McDonnell, John
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNamara, Kevin
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Mates, Michael
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paisley, Rev Ian
Paterson, Owen
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mark
Pugh, Dr John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Sedgemore, Brian
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (Mid–Norfolk)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Dr Richard (Wyre F)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. John Randall and
Sir Robert Smith.


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald
(Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, Hilary
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis–Thomas, Mrs Claire
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foulkes, George
Francis, Dr Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, Rt Hon Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Havard, Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hermon, Lady
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Rt Hon Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hodge, Margaret
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Rt Hon Tessa
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Andrew
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
MacDougall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morris, Rt Hon Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simon, Siôn
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, Rt Hon John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Vis, Dr Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Ivor Caplin and
Mr. Tony McNulty.

Question accordingly negatived.

26 Nov 2001 : Column 800

Clause 28

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