3.59 pm

Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): I will do my best to comply with that, Madam Deputy Speaker—[Laughter.] Sorry, I meant to say that I will indeed definitely comply with that.

This is a difficult issue for those who, like me, have massive concerns about civil liberties and privacy. It is a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Knowsley (Mr Howarth). We do not always agree on these issues, but I care passionately about the abuse of surveillance that has taken place, and seeing the state have more control. I expressed that view when we got rid of the draft Communications Data Bill in calling for our only debate to consider the post-Snowden situation, and in the digital Bill of rights that my party passed. There is much we need to do, and I have called for many years for reform of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, and of other legislation such as the Telecommunications Act 1984, which has some really amazing powers in section 94. I therefore start off instinctively concerned about anything proposed in this way.

Communications data and lawful intercept are very important, although we need improvements in how they are dealt with—for example, communications data should be collected for a much shorter time. We could have a system of retention for a short period followed by preservation orders to address many of the concerns raised. Accessibility should be limited; there is definitely too much access with 500,000 requests a year. I believe we should have judicial warrants for lawful intercept, as that is a much better way to proceed. We can improve those measures, but we need them because it is clear that we face a problem now.

I raised this issue on 8 April when the Home Secretary appeared before the Home Affairs Committee on the day of the European judgment. I pressed her on the matter and she insisted that the regulations were still valid. I understand why she feels she has to say this, but I do not think it is correct. I think the Home Office is continuing on a hope and a prayer, and at some point that will end, and that is the emergency that persuades me. I am also very aware of the circumstances around

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the lawful intercept drop-off. That is true and I have spoken to many people, so I do not entirely trust the Home Office when it says there is a problem in some areas. I think the Home Office is largely to blame because of the way it has conducted itself in its interactions with other companies. When we considered the draft Communications Data Bill, we expressed concern that the way the Home Office misportrayed what companies were saying might drive some of them overseas, and we have seen that.

On new powers, the data retention regulations are as before but with more constraints; the Bill is slightly less powerful than what it gets rid of. Is lawful intercept a new power? We have had interesting discussions about whether we knew it was applicable overseas, and when we considered the draft Communications Data Bill we published a report that highlighted the fact that it appeared to impose no limits on the telecommunications operators to whom it applied. We heard from different companies about how they complied with the requests they receive. That should not be a surprise given that two years ago we published a report on that. I know that other hon. Members have been here longer. We knew this measure was there; it is not a new power.

What is not allowed is what was in the snoopers charter—the draft Communications Data Bill. We will not allow website logs; that is clearly not allowed by anything in that provision. There is nothing in the Bill that would allow domestic companies to be forced to collect information on third-party overseas companies, which was in the Communications Data Bill. Such things are not allowed and will continue not to be allowed.

There are safeguards, and if it were not for those there is no way I would support the Bill. I have called for these safeguards for many years. The Liberal Democrats made them a condition of acceptance of the Bill, and I am pleased that we have secured them. There is a sunset clause with no possible extension, and the RIPA review, which we desperately need.

Duncan Hames (Chippenham) (LD): Does my hon. Friend agree that, contrary to remarks from those on the Opposition Front Bench, it is not only the passage of time and the advance of technology that has discredited RIPA?

Dr Huppert: My hon. Friend is partly right. RIPA was an improvement on no regulations, but it gave far too much power to far too many people, and we needed to fix that situation much earlier. The approach taken by the previous Government to try to collect more and more powers with the interception modernisation programme and so forth is not the right way to go.

We have a number of safeguards. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that I and other hon. Friends have been mentioning for a while is an important safeguard and will be written into law. We are reducing by hundreds the number of bodies that are able to get direct access to data. Councils used to be able to get direct access to communications data to find out whether somebody was applying to the right school for their child. That is no more. This Government are ensuring not only that councils cannot get direct access, but that they also have to get a magistrate’s say-so. We have annual transparency reports—a key requirement—and

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the trimming of powers for access to communications data. A huge amount in the Bill provides safeguards and we are in a better place as a result, although we are not in a perfect place. I would like to see a much more substantial rewrite of RIPA, with many more limitations and a new approach. That is what I hope we will get from the RIPA review. We would certainly want any improvements that could be implemented to be implemented.

People often talk about the trade-off between security and privacy or civil liberties. I do not think it is a trade-off; I think we can have more of both at the same time. The Bill preserves the security we currently have, which is a good thing, and, because of the safeguards and the changes, it actually supports privacy and is a pro-civil liberties measure. The Guardian highlighted the fact that the Bill could

“prove a major opportunity to bring the relentless rise of the surveillance state under democratic control.”

The Independent said that:

“the law may in fact, in a few years, benefit the civil libertarian cause.”

Having seen sustained assaults over many years on this issue, I support that and hope we can achieve a better balance.

4.5 pm

Dr Hywel Francis (Aberavon) (Lab): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert). He is a valued member of my Joint Committee on Human Rights, as was the hon. Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab). I was delighted to hear him quoting the banner of the Tower lodge miners, a great bastion of trade union freedom. The quote has been attributed to Franklin—it may well be—and to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, but today it has been made famous by the Tower miners. The opening statement by the shadow Home Secretary, who is not in her place, really did sum up that sense of the need to protect our liberties and the security of all our citizens. That is very much in the spirit of “eternal vigilance is the price of freedom”.

I am conscious that we have very little time, so I would like pose three questions to the Minister and then make reference to public confidence in Parliament. First, why was draft legislation not prepared during the two-year period in which the Government knew of the risk of the directive being ruled invalid, and why was Parliament not given a proper opportunity to scrutinise and debate the detail? Secondly, what exactly is the urgency that requires the complex issue of extraterritoriality to be dealt with by emergency rather than ordinary legislation? Thirdly, I will be writing to the Government, on behalf of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, to ask for a more detailed explanation of how our law meets each of the criticisms of the European Court, but there is one central question I would like the Minister to answer today. Why, in the light of the case law, do the Government consider that it is compatible with the right to respect for private life to continue to authorise blanket retention of communications data?

Let me turn to the vexed question of public confidence in Parliament. Emergency legislation such as this has the potential to undermine the public’s confidence in Parliament’s capacity to do its job of holding the Government to account. In the wake of the Snowden

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disclosures, there is widespread mistrust of the Government and the intelligence agencies when it comes to surveillance. Detailed scrutiny of the Government’s justifications for interfering with people’s privacy must involve civil society. To be democratically legitimate, that scrutiny must take place here in Parliament. The Government need to recognise that they do not have a monopoly on wisdom or expertise in these matters. They need to heed the views of parliamentarians and specialist parliamentary Committees, and the views of wider civil society.

Courts are also more likely to uphold laws that have been properly scrutinised by Parliament. Lack of effective parliamentary scrutiny makes it more likely that courts will find laws to be in breach of fundamental rights. This only feeds the public perception that Parliament is disempowered in relation not only to the Government, but to the courts.

Let me give a good example of that. Last year the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act was passed as emergency legislation only days after it was introduced. My Committee was unable to report before the Bill received its Royal Assent but we expressed grave reservations about the Bill’s compatibility with two particular human rights: the rights of access to court and to peaceful enjoyment of possessions. For that reason, we would have liked to scrutinise it in more detail. Last week, the legislation was declared incompatible by the High Court on the very grounds identified by my Committee. While, no doubt, the Government will be appealing against the judgment, it illustrates well the vulnerability of emergency legislation to successful legal challenge on human rights grounds.

The Government are now taking the same risk with this Bill. From my perspective as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, I can see a clear pattern emerging: very widely drafted powers to counter terrorism and serious crime, with too few safeguards to guarantee that they are only used when necessary and proportionate, give rise to concerns about their indiscriminate overuse. We have seen it with powers to take and retain, for example, DNA—

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order.

4.10 pm

Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): I have massive concerns about the Bill. I do not like the way in which it has been brought to the House. I do not like the way in which we have to rush through this process at breakneck speed, even though this is an issue that was flagged up to the Government some three months ago. I am suspicious about the reasons why we are doing all this now. I do not like the fact that it seems little more than a half-hearted attempt to get around a European Court of Justice ruling that declared the European directive invalid and thereafter practically everything that the Government are doing on data retention probably illegal.

I am suspicious about the way in which all the UK parties and party leaders have been brought into line around these unspecified threats. That is reminiscent of the dark days of the creation of the anti-libertarian state by new Labour; unspecified threats were the things we had to address then. I particularly do not like the fact that the Scottish Government, who have responsibility

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for the judiciary, policing and even delivering parts of RIPA in Scotland, were not consulted about the Bill. Most of all, I do not like the way in which the Government are trying to pretend that this is just business as usual when it clearly is an extension of what the Government can do in the collection and retention of an individual’s personal data.

I want to take that last concern first. I listened very carefully to all the party leaders last week when this was presented. The Prime Minister said that the Government were not introducing “new powers or capabilities”, but clauses 3 to 5 make significant amendments to the range of powers included in RIPA. The Bill extends the Government’s surveillance powers in two very important ways. Clause 4 clearly extends the territorial scope of RIPA, and the Government can now issue interception warrants for communications data to companies outside the UK. It also extends the definition of what “telecommunications services” means within RIPA to include webmail services such as Gmail. The hon. Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab), who is no longer in his place, said that the most fundamental change is in that relationship between ISPs and the state.

The Government must now come clean with the British people. This is not business as usual. These are significant and substantial new powers. The Bill is more than the sum of its parts. It is a statement of intent. The Home Secretary said as much last week when she introduced it. Her real intention is, of course, to reintroduce her much-coveted snoopers charter in this Bill. The way in which the Bill brings on board the overseas ISPs is little more than a paving Bill for the reintroduction of that most unwanted anti-civil libertarian measure.

There has been a lot of talk about what is and what is not included in the Court judgement. The Government have had three months to address the Court’s findings. It is not the threat of terrorism or of criminal activity that has forced the Government’s hand in bringing this forward today. It is the threat of legal action by organisations such as the Open Rights Group and others that has prompted this emergency legislation. The Government should not mislead us about the urgency of the Bill. Given its significance and the issues it raises about our civil liberties, it should not be passed without proper parliamentary scrutiny. Truncating consideration of the Bill in this way is nothing short of appalling. It does a massive disservice to our constituents who have taken a real interest in this.

We all agree that the targeted retention of communications data can help the police to tackle serious crimes such as terrorism and child abuse. We all want to ensure that our communities are safe. But it has to be done proportionately and responsibly, and first and foremost, it should be legal.

What the European Court of Justice said was that we have a very low threshold for the retention of data, and it made it clear that the retention of data of every single person strikes the wrong balance between the need to tackle serious crime and our right to privacy and a private family life.

What most disappoints me is the total disrespect shown to Scottish Ministers. The first any Scottish Minister got to hear about this Bill was several hours after the statement was made in this House about its

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introduction, yet Scottish Ministers are responsible for policing and justice. It is Scottish Ministers who sign off any request for intercept on serious crime grounds. Part of RIPA required an Act of the Scottish Parliament and it puts in place the authority to conduct directed surveillance, undercover intelligence and intrusive intelligence. It is therefore staggering that this Government would proceed with this measure without exchanging even the slightest word with Scottish Ministers.

We believe that it will always be necessary to collect and retain the personal data of individuals in the pursuit of serious crime and we will take those responsibilities very seriously as an independent nation, but because this Government have got the balance so badly wrong, we will oppose the Bill today.

4.15 pm

Mr David Winnick (Walsall North) (Lab): My right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mr Straw) said that the security services are far better than they were many years ago. That is because over many years and particularly in the ’70s and ’80s, there were campaigns both inside and outside the House for proper scrutiny of the security services, so I think we can take some credit for the improvement.

As to the Bill before us, the European Court of Justice set out in what I consider to be a wise decision 10 principles that have already been mentioned and need to be emphasised. What it did not do was say that the data retention carried out under the 2006 EU directive was wrong in itself. That it was necessary to have such data retention was not in question. What the Court did say was that certain circumstances should be recognised when directives are given to internet companies and that these needed to be related to a particular threat to public security, a particular time and a particular geographical area. In my view, that is absolutely right.

What the Government have done is to say, “Well, we do not agree with it, and to show that, we are going to bring in a Bill that simply legislates on the basis of the very factors that the ECJ said were wrong.” I see no reason to disagree with the ECJ. I see no reason why the 10 principles set out by the Court should not be enshrined in British legislation, but that is not happening. What will happen if this Bill is passed is that we will carry on as normal, regardless of the ECJ. It would be just the same, except for certain words being added and the sort of extension that can be seen in clause 4. What sort of reaction to the ECJ is that? It is understandable why so many of us—yes, a minority, but a significant number—have such reservations. I hope that further consideration will be given to what is happening.

The very fact that this measure is being rushed through in one day denies the opportunity—certainly for the Home Affairs Committee and for other appropriate Committees, too—to scrutinise it properly. If there were ever a measure that required detailed scrutiny by the relevant Committees, it is this one, yet any scrutiny that takes place will be post-legislation. That is not a wise course for us to follow.

To me, if not to others, this makes a mockery of what Parliament should be doing. When Labour was in office, the Conservative party was highly critical of its legislation on various matters—pre-charge detention, identity cards and so forth—and claimed that it would be the champion

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of civil liberties. There is not much evidence of that in any way, shape or form. The Home Secretary ought to recognise that there must be quite a lot of disappointment —not among Labour Members, because we did not expect any better, but among those people in the country who thought that a Conservative Government would follow a path that really respected civil liberties.

In a forceful speech, my right hon. Friend the shadow Home Secretary said that we needed to establish the right balance between civil liberties and security. I could not agree more. None of us who are critical minimise for one moment the acute terrorist threat to our country. We recognise the need for the security services. We recognise that there are evil people who want to do the maximum damage to others in this country. We would have no illusions even if there had been no 7/7, and the crimes and atrocities that that were committed nine years ago had not occurred. However, I do not believe that we have arrived at the right balance, although I hope that we shall do so in due course.

4.21 pm

Mark Durkan (Foyle) (SDLP): As I said earlier, my concerns—like those of others—are not just about some questionable aspects of the provisions in the Bill, but about its presentation as emergency legislation. The ruling from the European Court of Justice followed a case that had lasted two years, and the flaws and weaknesses that it revealed had been identified by, among others, a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament. Moreover, a judicial review that is pending in the United Kingdom courts was lodged some three years ago. It is clear, therefore, that the Government should have been aware of the susceptibility of the existing legislation to a court challenge of that nature. There is absolutely no reason why good, due, careful parliamentary consideration should not have been given to the issues before now. Furthermore, it has still not been properly explained to us why—although the judgment of the European Court of Justice was issued as long ago as April, and despite the long notice that is provided by cases that last so long—legislation is being scrambled, or microwaved, through the House just before the summer recess.

The Government have made several claims today. At one point, we heard that the Bill was intended to clarify, or strengthen, the focus of RIPA. In some respects the Bill actually widens that focus in a way that arguably extends its implications, yet the Government are trying to tell us that it narrows the focus, and also contains new protections and new qualifications. As other Members have pointed out, the Bill wears some new words here and there like badges, pretending to recruit the judgment of the European Court of Justice, but the fact is that the existing powers are not being narrowed as Ministers have claimed.

The other assurance that we have been given relates to the sunset clause. It is supposedly emergency bridging legislation, intended to prevent a serious situation in which existing powers are challenged and cannot be used to close a dangerous gap. However, the expiry of the sunset clause is nearly two and a half years away. That appears to be quite a lengthy emergency. If we are saying now that we are happy to pass this legislation on the basis of a two-and-a-half-year sunset clause, and on the basis that it merely continues the data retention provisions that we already have in RIPA, does anyone

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really believe that, in two and half years’ time, Parliament will do anything other than say, “Well, we must carry on with what we have already had, and what we have already put up with, because if it has been done before and if it has been done up until now, and if it is what the security services and others say they need, we shall just have to stick with it”?

As for all the other paraphernalia that we are being offered—the furniture of the various reviews that will take place, the privacy and civil liberties oversight boards and all the rest—none of it will convince the public that, when it comes to it, when the security services and others say that they want the essence of these powers and these arrangements to be renewed in 2016, and indeed, if they wish, to be extended, deepened and widened, Parliament will not say that that is OK. Again, the senior parties will feel they have no choice but to go along with it on this basis, and we will have a consensus based on poor consideration by Members who feel they have been whipped by some of the threats, suggestions and inferences that come from the security services.

This House, which often raises questions about the respect in which politics and Parliament and this Chamber are held, has to ask how the public are meant to have any respect for an elected Chamber that is not showing a lot of respect for itself, in the way in which we are receiving and passing this Bill. We are even offering to the public that the things that will protect them will be outside Parliament—that there are going to be those commissioners and oversight boards. That is because we know that the public no longer believe in Parliament as the protector of their civil liberties and of good democratic order.

We should be a chamber of scrutiny and accountability. That is why we should be questioning the way in which we have received this Bill, and it is why we should be pressing the Government further through debating amendments at the next stage of this Bill’s passage.

4.26 pm

Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston) (Lab): I understand where my hon. Friend the Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan) is coming from, but I disagree with him that it is not possible to create vehicles to build trust with the public. We need to look at examples of work that happens in other sectors. My Select Committee, the Science and Technology Committee, has recently been taking evidence on the way data analytics are managed within social media networks, and it is interesting to consider how the banking card systems create a vehicle of trust between customer and bank, with the customer sharing an enormous amount of information with those organisations.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that the body that is trusted least is Government, and it is our job as Parliament to find ways, in this very serious area, to rebuild that trust in the system. Our next period of work on this subject must be the hugely important job of creating confidence in the independence of the oversight process of the Government and the security forces.

The David Anderson review gives us an opportunity to do something important. Clearly, David Anderson’s work goes substantially beyond counter-terrorism. Mention has been made of many other types of crime, and on my last visit to my constituency police headquarters I looked

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at how forensic computing is being developed in that police force. I was horrified at the proportion of work they are doing on child abuse images. With that in mind, we need to ensure that the David Anderson review takes into account expert advice from people involved in all those areas.

I encourage the Minister, when thinking about the privacy and civil liberties oversight board, to think broadly. The Minister should not think of a board and structure that fits the technology of today alone. We need to think of a structure that is technology-neutral, which both deals with the philosophical points that have rightly been raised from both sides of the debate in the House today and is structured in such a way that it can continue its work and evolve with the technologies. Twitter is here today, but it will be gone tomorrow, and something else will take its place that will be bigger, faster and better, enabling greater analysis of data for all sorts of commercial, or criminal investigation, purposes.

The other point I would like to make concerns warrants. I have discussed this with my wife, who as a magistrate has had to sign many warrants. It has always seemed to me that the missing link in public confidence has been the ability to be sure that when a warrant is signed, the person responsible for signing it—in this case the Home Secretary—is continually pressing the investigating officer, to show that the warrant was issued with just cause, so that there is some confidence building in the process of warrant granting. There would seem to be a place for almost an online equivalent of magistrates taking some of the Home Secretary’s role in this complicated area, because one would need to be logging the intrusions into personal data in a way that we have the technology to achieve, as we have demonstrated in other Departments. There is still a lot to be done in confidence building.

With those observations, I fully support the aims and objectives of the Bill, but urge that oversight is considered carefully.

4.30 pm

Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland) (Lab): The underlying issue that we are discussing in this important debate is whether we want the online space to be a law-governed area.

The radical libertarians, who seem to want the online space to be completely free, without boundaries, rights or responsibilities, would, I fear, unwittingly lead us into an anarchic place, where those with power and aggression dominated and where the weak and vulnerable suffered. Even the Swedish Pirate party told me that it wanted some rules of the game. We do not want a retreat into what I would call mediaevalism. When I say that, I mean that the internet should not be like the forest in the 13th century, which was completely outside the law. I know that there are some geeks who explore the dark net who see themselves as latter-day Robin Hoods, but the rest of us do not see them in that way.

One of the reasons for that is that we have seen an explosion in crime online and in particular crime against children. It is vital that we tackle that more energetically. The police believe that 60,000 people in this country are downloading illegal images of children all the time. We need to do more to tackle them, not less. That is the context

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in which we are looking at this legislation this afternoon. Given that, the requirement for telecommunications companies to keep comms data is necessary. The Mobile Operators Association told me that after Snowden and the European Court of Justice judgment, it wants legal certainty. It is no longer prepared to continue with a voluntary approach.

Our object with this legislation is not to shift the power of the state and the citizen; it is to reproduce in the online, telecoms spaces the rights and responsibilities of the real world, as my right hon. Friends the Members for Blackburn (Mr Straw) and for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson) pointed out. Therefore, disclosing content to a limited number of public authorities with a warrant in pursuit of serious crime seems to me to be reasonable. This solution may be rather clunky, but at the moment it is the only practical one available.

If I may say so, this whole arena has been bedevilled by the problem of extraterritoriality. Whether companies are located in the US or Latvia, we see them evading their taxes or not having proper child protection standards. One of the useful things in the ECJ judgment on the Spanish man and the right to be forgotten was that it asserted that such companies are subject to European law. However, it is right that this piece of legislation puts that beyond doubt. Furthermore, it would be helpful to do more work to build the international consensus in this area. Just as we had to spend many years developing the international law of the sea, we now need to look at having a treaty basis for international co-operation in the online space.

As the timetable has been so rushed, it has not been possible to look at this area in a more comprehensive way. There are two areas in which we need to do further work. The first is on the issue of anonymity. I am talking not about people having nicknames on Twitter but about ensuring that we have a correspondence with people’s real and virtual identities, possibly using the device media access control address. That would help us to tackle crime in a less clunky way, and reduce it as well.

Finally, my right hon. Friend the Member for Delyn (Mr Hanson) has tabled an amendment to improve the oversight of the public authorities, but we still do not have good oversight of the use put by private companies to all this data, and we need to beef up legislation in that area. It is clear that those companies think that they are entitled to sell on this information without people’s consent. I am disappointed that the Secretary of State for Justice, who has held on to his position in this reshuffle, has described as “mad” proposals to do more in that area.

4.35 pm

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green): The straw man—or straw person—has been evident in this debate this afternoon. Several Members have suggested that those of us who oppose this Bill somehow oppose the retention of data per se. I wish to make it clear that I have not heard anybody say that. Everything is about the terms on which the data are being retained.

The right hon. and learned Member for Kensington (Sir Malcolm Rifkind) gave the impression that I had suggested that the Court of Justice of the European Union had said that the data could not be retained.

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Of course it did not say that. What it said was that the terms under which data are retained have to be proportionate. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, who unfortunately is not in his place, suggested that I had not looked at the ruling. I can confirm that I have. Paragraph 59 makes it clear that what the Court of Justice is asking for is an end to blanket retention. It says that

“retention must relate to specific threats, and be confined by specific criteria, such as a time period, geography, or a set of people of interest.”

We are talking about the terms and the conditions of that data retention. Let us consider the fact that there are plenty of countries that seem to be able to tackle serious crime without undermining their citizens’ civil liberties through blanket data retention. I am talking about Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece and Sweden.

The hon. Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert), who is in his place, tried to reassure us that there were all these safeguards that would make us feel comfortable. One of those safeguards, and the only one that is actually written into the Bill, is the sunset clause, which is two and a half years away. Many Members have already said why that does not give us comfort, which is why I am supporting the amendment that would bring it forward to six months. None of the other measures to which the hon. Gentleman referred is in the Bill.

An awful lot of people watching this debate will be absolutely staggered that the Liberal Democrats, who have, to their credit, been upholders of civil liberties in the past, are here undermining them. What we see here is a willingness to trade off this blanket retention of data, which many people believe will be deemed illegal, with concessions that may or may not be forthcoming in the future. We have always known that new Labour had an authoritarian streak, but we had hoped that the Liberal Democrats would stand up for civil liberties. Many people today will be sad to see the way in which they have caved in on this issue.

We have been repeatedly told that the Bill simply maintains the status quo, and there are plenty of legal experts who will argue that that is not accurate; we have heard many of their statements repeated in the Chamber this afternoon. Notwithstanding the fact that the status quo has been ruled a breach of fundamental human rights, the provisions in the Bill, specifically clause 4, extend the territorial reach of the law relating to data retention, bringing overseas communications companies that provide services in the UK into the scope of RIPA.

Even those parts of the Bill that do not constitute going further than the status quo are deeply worrying. It has been confirmed that they breach fundamental human rights in their scope and in their totality. There are also more specific concerns with many of the Bill’s provisions. Clause 1, for example, retains authorisation for hundreds of public authorities to acquire communications data while the framework for granting access to that data is worryingly open to abuse. Barring local authority access, there is no requirement for independent prior judicial authorisation when communications data are sought by public bodies.

That means that the potential for ongoing and wide-scale privacy infringement is enormous and has been realised in the shape of roughly half a million requests a year from public bodies since 2009. The actual scale of infringement is difficult to assess. We still do not have a

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full picture across all the public bodies that are able to access communications data of the type of investigations for which data are accessed, the extent of access and the number of individuals affected. The European Court of Justice has however confirmed that privacy is being breached even though to what extent is unfortunately still a secret.

Moreover, while we are told that communications data played a role in 95% of all serious criminal investigations over the past decade, we have no idea about the exact nature of that role. That makes it difficult to judge exactly how significant the blanket retention of data is in averting terrorist attacks, for example. When crimes are successfully prevented, we are not told whether communications data are central or peripheral to the operation; nor are we told whether data lead to successful prosecution or whether prosecution could have been secured without access to the data. That is why we need a proper debate. The interception of communications commissioner has already warned that far too many requests for data are being made and that he is struggling to keep up with them. The idea of loading more on to the commissioner is unsustainable. We should not be pushing this legislation through in a day; we should be having a proper and full debate.

4.40 pm

Mr Michael Meacher (Oldham West and Royton) (Lab): I feel uneasy about the Bill on several grounds. As I am sure that we all do, I clearly accept that there is a need for a new law in order to establish a proper legal foundation to balance the right to privacy with the requirement to ensure security, but it should not be done in this way. The Official Secrets Act 1911 was rammed through this House in just one day in an atmosphere of fear and we have had to live with the undesirable consequences of a national security concept with blanket coverage ever since. Has the House really not learned that telescoping proper parliamentary scrutiny is nearly always dangerous and can lead to unexpected outcomes as we helplessly watch the law of unintended consequences kick in?

The Government’s first argument for emergency legislation does not stand up. As many have said, the European Court of Justice ruling was on 8 April. The Government wasted more than three months without taking any action before suddenly, seven days before the recess, alleging that it is critical that the Bill be passed by the House in one day. That is either panic or a deliberate attempt to blackmail the House into undiscriminating compliance.

The Government’s second argument, namely that foreign-based phone and internet companies were about to stop handing over the contents of individual communications in response to a UK warrant, does not stack up either. It has been reported that communications service providers have said that they did not know of any companies that had warned the UK Government that they would start deleting data in the light of legal uncertainty. Indeed, the Home Office, according to the Financial Times, instructed companies to disregard the ECJ ruling and to carry on harvesting data while it put together a new legal framework. The Government’s alleged anxiety that they might lose access to stored data overnight is wilfully overdrawn.

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The Prime Minister’s assurances are neither convincing nor effective. He stated, as echoed several times by the Home Secretary today, that the legislation will merely maintain the status quo. That is not true. It will impose for the first time a duty on foreign-based internet companies with subsidiaries in the UK to co-operate with surveillance requests by UK agencies. We were also assured by the Home Secretary last Thursday that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

“ensures that access to communications data can take place only where it is necessary and proportionate for a specific investigation.”—[Official Report, 10 July 2014; Vol. 584, c. 457.]

Again, however, that is misleading. Charles Farr, the lead Home Office official in this area, argued in his legal witness statement last week that general intercepts are permitted under RIPA because they are “external”, by which he meant that because communications travel via foreign server, largely based in the US, they can be intercepted indiscriminately even when there are no grounds to suspect any wrongdoing.

Lastly, the Prime Minister offered a number of specific measures to assuage the deeply held concerns about the Bill, but they do not really inspire confidence. He proposes a privacy and civil liberties board, which is of course welcome in principle but, considering that the Intelligence and Security Committee was not told about and did not find out about the indiscriminate tapping of overseas communications under the Tempora system, it is difficult to have trust in oversight boards having the resources, capability and access to scrutinise and deal with what is really happening within the security services’ manipulation of fast-changing communications technology.

The review of RIPA is long overdue and very welcome, but it is not a good omen that the circumvention of the RIPA rules to allow the indiscriminate mass surveillance that exists today is to be allowed to continue for another two and a half years without any attempt in the Bill to circumscribe those powers. The restriction of the number of bodies that can directly contact phone companies and demand access to data is, of course, right, but the current number is about 600, I think, and we are not told by how much it will be restricted. I welcome the sunset clause, but the end of 2016 is far too late. It should be for the end of 2014. For all these reasons, I cannot support the Bill as it stands.

4.45 pm

Mr David Hanson (Delyn) (Lab): We have had a useful debate today, in which the House has had to reach a balance in making a judgment on the Bill. The balance has been between two main concerns: the privacy of information and the need for agencies such as the police and others to know about that information and access it; and the need not to let criminals off the hook. There is a real dilemma that I know all hon. Members are examining, but I hope that it is one that the Bill can resolve.

As you know, Madam Deputy Speaker, we are here because of the European Court of Justice and its decision to strike down regulations to enable internet providers to retain communications data for law enforcement purposes for up to 12 months. That is an issue we must address for the reasons the Home Secretary and the Minister have outlined. We also need to ensure that the

15 July 2014 : Column 752

Government respond to the needs of the companies calling for a clear legal framework. The Home Secretary also outlined that view.

Members on both sides of the House have shared the Government’s balanced view, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper). The right hon. and learned Member for Kensington (Sir Malcolm Rifkind), the Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, has endorsed that balanced approach, as has my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz), the Chair of the Select Committee on Home Affairs. Indeed, the Home Affairs Committee has written to the Home Secretary today saying:

“The Committee’s view is that the retention of communications data, subject to appropriate safeguards, is an important tool in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and child sexual exploitation, and the Government is right to bring forward urgent legislation”.

I accept that my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall North (Mr Winnick) has dissented from that view and in his speech he clearly put his dissent on record. However, the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberavon (Dr Francis) about the protections and freedoms that his Committee has examined are also important. He has put on record his concerns while, again, taking a balanced approach.

There are those in the House today who have fallen more on the side of privacy than of crime fighting, and I respect that view and understand why it is taken. I do not necessarily share it, but the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden (Mr Davis) talked about ensuring that we have safeguards in place and the hon. Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab) argued for the sunset clause and about the question of what national security is, and those are issues that we should explore. I hope that Ministers will deal with these issues not just now but as the Bill goes through the House today and through the other place, so that there are safeguards and powers to review the legislation. I hope that later in our consideration the proposals put by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, supported by my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford and other Opposition Members, will be considered seriously.

Members such as my right hon. Friend the Member for Oldham West and Royton (Mr Meacher) have expressed real concerns and might not support the Opposition’s view in the Lobby tonight. I respect that view, but I cannot share it today, and I urge my right hon. Friend, even at this late stage, to consider supporting the Opposition as well as the Government. I paraphrase what the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) has said on other occasions, when he said he was not happy, he was not happy at all. That broadly summarises his position today. It is shared by the hon. Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan). I accept his point that smaller parties—I represent a constituency in Wales—need at least to be involved in the discussion on these matters, even if the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire remains not happy, not happy at all.

The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) has raised the terms of engagement, and she made a good, solid contribution, but ultimately the Opposition have to make a judgment, and the judgment that my right hon. Friend and I have formed supports

15 July 2014 : Column 753

the Government’s view on these matters. Even though we think that the Government should have looked at this earlier, we support that judgment for the reasons given by my right hon. Friends the Members for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson) and for Blackburn (Mr Straw), who are former Home Secretaries and know the difficulties that the Home Secretary faces now. They have been in office in the Home Office, as indeed have I, and have seen the challenges that we face. They have understood that the retention of data records is important. I am pleased that that view was also shared by, for example, the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Simon Reevell), who made a strong case from a criminal prosecution point of view that retention of data was necessary for court cases.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley (Mr Howarth) made some important points, which he will raise again in Committee. He recognised, again as a former Home Office Minister, the importance of the Bill in the round. My hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Helen Goodman) drew an interesting analogy with Robin Hood and being in the forest. I hope that I am not Friar Tuck in this, Madam Deputy Speaker. She made the point that it is a simple regulation of dark issues in relation to the use of evidence in court.

The hon. Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert) made important points in support of the legislation, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Andrew Miller). In summary, all investigations into online child sex abuse, major investigations into terrorism and organised crime, and the prevention of young people from travelling to Syria would be severely jeopardised if the legislation did not pass in its current form. Without it, the police would not be able to catch paedophiles sharing child images. Mobile phone records helped the police find out about the attempted terrorist attack on Glasgow airport in 2007. Without the legislation, those records would no longer be available. The security services would not have been able to check who the Woolwich attackers had contacted when they undertook that murder.

The Minister has our support. We will examine the Bill in Committee, but on Second Reading we give him our unqualified support.

4.53 pm

The Minister for Security and Immigration (James Brokenshire): I thank all the right hon. and hon. Members who have contributed to a vibrant and valuable debate. I note that some comments were made about the role of the House in defending liberty and ensuring that we strike a balance between collective freedoms and individual liberty. The speeches this afternoon have brought that to the fore, and I understand and recognise the significance of the legislation before the House this afternoon. The Government have to work quickly to address the problems created by the judgment of the European Court and declining co-operation from communication service providers. The Bill has undergone some good debate and challenge this afternoon.

I welcome the fact that, almost without exception, right hon. and hon. Members who have spoken have understood the importance of interception and communications data in the fight against terrorism and other serious crime and have therefore supported the Bill. Several hon. Members highlighted its import in

15 July 2014 : Column 754

confronting child abuse and safeguarding children. It will play a crucial role in enabling our law enforcement agencies to bring crimes to justice.

Sometimes this debate can be framed round security—what the intelligence agencies are doing. Actually, much of it is about what our police and law enforcement agencies are doing to identify, prosecute and bring to justice those who would harm our constituents; about how the use of communications data is such an integral part of that; and obviously, as we all understand, about the importance of intercept. I was struck by the speech of the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle (Alan Johnson), who referred back to the year that I was born and his role at Royal Mail, reflecting on how interception played such a role even then, but in a different way, and on how technology has moved on. We have discussed the vital importance of this Bill in ensuring that those who work to keep us safe can continue to have the tools that they need. That is at the heart of our debate.

Some speeches were framed on the basis that this Bill is extending powers. I reiterate, yet again, that it is not about extending powers but about maintaining the powers that already exist to retain data, including under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, in order that our police and law enforcement and security agencies, and others, can continue to do the work that they do now.

A number of Members mentioned the European Court judgment. Let me briefly go through some of the issues that were highlighted. On scope, the Bill will limit any data retention to a strict list of data types specified in the data retention regulations. It will enable the Secretary of State to issue data retention notices to communications services providers, on a selective basis, only if she considers the obligations to be necessary and proportionate.

On duration, each notice will have to specify the duration for which data is to be retained, up to a maximum 12-month period. If it is not proportionate to retain certain data for a full 12 months, that enables a lower period to be chosen. Again, that reflects some of the comments made in the European Court judgment, with a clear requirement for the Secretary of State to keep any notice under review. Access will be limited to that which is necessary and proportionate under RIPA.

On storage, the UK already imposes strict data security requirements on our communications service providers. These will become part of the notice requiring a CSP to retain data and will therefore be enforceable. It is right that we have reflected on the European Court judgment, but we retain our focus on what the powers are today as well as reflecting on some of the points that the Court made.

John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab): Part of the judgment proposes that the Government provide exceptions for persons whose communications are subject to an obligation of professional secrecy. That does not seem to be covered in the Bill or in the draft regulations.

James Brokenshire: I hope that in Committee we will be able to get on to the role that the statutory code of practice may play in that regard. The hon. Gentleman will note that there is reference to that in the Bill, and we will be able to discuss it shortly.

15 July 2014 : Column 755

It is important to note that the Intelligence and Security Committee has endorsed these proposals, with one notable exception. Indeed, the Home Affairs Committee has done the same, obviously recognising that there may not have been unanimity in that respect. It is important to say that Committees have reflected on and examined this and seen that it is about protecting the status quo.

Keith Vaz: It was 7-1, like Germany and Brazil.

James Brokenshire: The Chair of the Committee has made his point in his inimitable fashion.

It is important to understand that this is about protecting powers, not adding to them. It is about ensuring that our law enforcement agencies and security agencies have the powers that they need. That is what the proposal in this Bill is about. While I note the clear concerns over the balance between security and liberty, this is about protecting powers, not enhancing them. I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The House divided:

Ayes 498, Noes 31.

Division No. 36]


4.59 pm


Abrahams, Debbie

Afriyie, Adam

Ainsworth, rh Mr Bob

Aldous, Peter

Alexander, rh Mr Douglas

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Amess, Mr David

Andrew, Stuart

Arbuthnot, rh Mr James

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bain, Mr William

Baker, Norman

Baldry, rh Sir Tony

Baldwin, Harriett

Balls, rh Ed

Barclay, Stephen

Barker, rh Gregory

Barron, rh Kevin

Bayley, Hugh

Bebb, Guto

Beckett, rh Margaret

Begg, Dame Anne

Beith, rh Sir Alan

Benn, rh Hilary

Benton, Mr Joe

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berger, Luciana

Berry, Jake

Betts, Mr Clive

Bingham, Andrew

Binley, Mr Brian

Blackman, Bob

Blackman-Woods, Roberta

Blackwood, Nicola

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Blunkett, rh Mr David

Boles, Nick

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brady, Mr Graham

Brake, rh Tom

Bray, Angie

Brazier, Mr Julian

Brennan, Kevin

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, James

Brooke, Annette

Brown, Lyn

Browne, Mr Jeremy

Bruce, Fiona

Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burley, Mr Aidan

Burnham, rh Andy

Burns, rh Mr Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burstow, rh Paul

Burt, rh Alistair

Burt, Lorely

Byrne, rh Mr Liam

Cable, rh Vince

Cairns, Alun

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, rh Sir Menzies

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cash, Sir William

Caton, Martin

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Jenny

Chishti, Rehman

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clarke, rh Mr Tom

Clegg, rh Mr Nick

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Ann

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Connarty, Michael

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, Stephen

Crausby, Mr David

Creasy, Stella

Crockart, Mike

Crouch, Tracey

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Cunningham, Sir Tony

Curran, Margaret

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Davidson, Mr Ian

Davies, David T. C.


Davies, Geraint

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Philip

De Piero, Gloria

Denham, rh Mr John

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Docherty, Thomas

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donohoe, Mr Brian H.

Doran, Mr Frank

Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen

Dorries, Nadine

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Doyle, Gemma

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Dromey, Jack

Duddridge, James

Duncan, rh Mr Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Esterson, Bill

Eustice, George

Evans, Chris

Evans, Graham

Evans, Jonathan

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Featherstone, Lynne

Field, Mark

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Flello, Robert

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Foster, rh Mr Don

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francis, Dr Hywel

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Garnier, Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

George, Andrew

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glass, Pat

Glen, John

Glindon, Mrs Mary

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodman, Helen

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, rh Damian

Green, Kate

Greening, rh Justine

Greenwood, Lilian

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffith, Nia

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gwynne, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hague, rh Mr William

Halfon, Robert

Hames, Duncan

Hamilton, Mr David

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hands, rh Greg

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harper, Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Harvey, Sir Nick

Havard, Mr Dai

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Oliver

Healey, rh John

Heath, Mr David

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Hemming, John

Henderson, Gordon

Hendrick, Mark

Hendry, Charles

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Herbert, rh Nick

Hermon, Lady

Heyes, David

Hillier, Meg

Hilling, Julie

Hinds, Damian

Hoban, Mr Mark

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollingbery, George

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, rh Mr George

Howell, John

Hughes, rh Simon

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hunt, Tristram

Huppert, Dr Julian

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jackson, Glenda

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

James, Mrs Siân C.

Jamieson, Cathy

Jarvis, Dan

Javid, rh Sajid

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Graham

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Marcus

Jones, Susan Elan

Jowell, rh Dame Tessa

Kawczynski, Daniel

Keeley, Barbara

Kelly, Chris

Kendall, Liz

Kennedy, rh Mr Charles

Khan, rh Sadiq

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lancaster, Mark

Lansley, rh Mr Andrew

Latham, Pauline

Laws, rh Mr David

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Jessica

Lee, Dr Phillip

Leech, Mr John

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Leslie, Chris

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lloyd, Stephen

Lopresti, Jack

Loughton, Tim

Love, Mr Andrew

Lucas, Ian

Luff, Sir Peter

Lumley, Karen

Macleod, Mary

Mactaggart, Fiona

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marsden, Mr Gordon

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCabe, Steve

McCann, Mr Michael

McCarthy, Kerry

McCartney, Jason

McClymont, Gregg

McCrea, Dr William

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGovern, Alison

McGovern, Jim

McGuire, rh Mrs Anne

McIntosh, Miss Anne

McKechin, Ann

McKenzie, Mr Iain

McKinnell, Catherine

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McVey, rh Esther

Meale, Sir Alan

Menzies, Mark

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miliband, rh Edward

Miller, Andrew

Miller, rh Maria

Mills, Nigel

Milton, Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Moore, rh Michael

Mordaunt, Penny

Morden, Jessica

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morrice, Graeme


Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Mosley, Stephen

Mowat, David

Mudie, Mr George

Mulholland, Greg

Munn, Meg

Munt, Tessa

Murphy, rh Paul

Murray, Ian

Murray, Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Nandy, Lisa

Nash, Pamela

Neill, Robert

Newton, Sarah

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

O'Brien, rh Mr Stephen

O'Donnell, Fiona

Offord, Dr Matthew

Ollerenshaw, Eric

Onwurah, Chi

Opperman, Guy

Ottaway, rh Sir Richard

Owen, Albert

Paice, rh Sir James

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Pearce, Teresa

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perkins, Toby

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Phillipson, Bridget

Pickles, rh Mr Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pugh, John

Randall, rh Sir John

Raynsford, rh Mr Nick

Reckless, Mark

Redwood, rh Mr John

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees-Mogg, Jacob

Reevell, Simon

Reeves, Rachel

Reid, Mr Alan

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm

Robertson, John

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rogerson, Dan

Rosindell, Andrew

Rotheram, Steve

Roy, Lindsay

Ruane, Chris

Rudd, Amber

Ruffley, Mr David

Russell, Sir Bob

Rutley, David

Sanders, Mr Adrian

Sandys, Laura

Sawford, Andy

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Alok

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Shelbrooke, Alec

Shepherd, Sir Richard

Shuker, Gavin

Simmonds, Mark

Simpson, David

Simpson, Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Slaughter, Mr Andy

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smith, Sir Robert

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Spellar, rh Mr John

Spencer, Mr Mark

Stanley, rh Sir John

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Straw, rh Mr Jack

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Stuart, Mr Graham

Stunell, rh Sir Andrew

Sturdy, Julian

Sutcliffe, Mr Gerry

Swales, Ian

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swinson, Jo

Tami, Mark

Teather, Sarah

Thornberry, Emily

Thurso, John

Timms, rh Stephen

Timpson, Mr Edward

Tomlinson, Justin

Tredinnick, David

Trickett, Jon

Truss, Elizabeth

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Tyrie, Mr Andrew

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Uppal, Paul

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vaz, rh Keith

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Walley, Joan

Walter, Mr Robert

Ward, Mr David

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Watts, Mr Dave

Weatherley, Mike

Webb, Steve

Wharton, James

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Willetts, rh Mr David

Williams, Mr Mark

Williams, Stephen

Williamson, Gavin

Wilson, Phil

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Woodcock, John

Woodward, rh Mr Shaun

Wright, David

Wright, Mr Iain

Wright, Simon

Young, rh Sir George

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Gavin Barwell


Jenny Willott


Abbott, Ms Diane

Bone, Mr Peter

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Clark, Katy

Corbyn, Jeremy

Davis, rh Mr David

Durkan, Mark

Edwards, Jonathan

Godsiff, Mr Roger

Hoey, Kate

Hosie, Stewart

Joyce, Eric

Lavery, Ian

Llwyd, rh Mr Elfyn

Long, Naomi

Lucas, Caroline

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Main, Mrs Anne

McDonnell, Dr Alasdair

Morris, Grahame M.


Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, Angus

Sheridan, Jim

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Turner, Mr Andrew

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mr Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Williams, Hywel

Winnick, Mr David

Wishart, Pete

Tellers for the Noes:

John McDonnell


Kelvin Hopkins

Question accordingly agreed to.

15 July 2014 : Column 756

15 July 2014 : Column 757

15 July 2014 : Column 758

15 July 2014 : Column 759

Bill read a Second time; to stand committed to a Committee of the whole House (Order, this day).

Further proceedings on the Bill stood postponed (Order, this day).

Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (Money)

Queen’s recommendation signified.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a)),

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of—

(1) any expenditure incurred under or by virtue of the Act by the Secretary of State, and

(2) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable under any other Act out of money so provided.—(Anne Milton.)

Question agreed to.

15 July 2014 : Column 760

Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill

Proceedings resumed (Order, this day) .

Considered in Committee (Order, this day).

[Mrs Eleanor Laing in the Chair]

Clause 1

Powers for retention of relevant communications data subject to safeguards

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

5.16 pm

The Minister for Security and Immigration (James Brokenshire): As the House has heard, communications data are information relating to the who, when, where and how of communications, but not to their content. These data are crucial to the work of both law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies.

As a result of the recent European Court of Justice judgment, we need to ensure that communications companies in the UK continue to retain this key information. The Bill will replace the data retention regime currently set out in the UK’s Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009, and preserve the status quo in relation to the retention of data, while responding to certain points made in the European Court judgment. Let me make it clear that the Bill will not create any new powers or obligations on communications companies beyond those that already exist.

Clause 1 will create a power for the Secretary of State to give notices to communications service providers to require them to retain relevant communications data. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has already made clear, the Bill does not enable the retention of any data which cannot already be retained by communications service providers under the existing data retention regulations.

Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): Will the Minister make it absolutely clear that there will be no change for data retention by overseas providers and that overseas companies will not be ordered to retain data?

James Brokenshire: As I have said, the law will be exactly as it now stands. My hon. Friend will know that there are provisions relating to extraterritoriality, and we will come on to the relevant clause later. He will understand that we have a relationship with communications service providers in the UK about their retention of data and that, in the regime under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Security Service, the police and listed bodies can make specific requests for the purposes set out in RIPA.

It is important to stress that those defined purposes are contained in existing law. To emphasise a point I made on Second Reading, the Bill is not about extending the current situation. Although the European Court of Justice commented on the data retention directive, we had already legislated in a number of ways to ensure that issues of proportionality and necessity are considered in framing requests. We have obviously reflected carefully on the judgment; hence some of the provisions, which I am sure we will come on to in Committee.

15 July 2014 : Column 761

Dr Huppert: I just want to ensure that I understand the Minister’s answer. Perhaps I did not phrase my question well. Does the clause provide the power to issue a retention notice to an overseas provider in respect of information that is flowing overseas? That would be something new and I would be grateful if he could rule it out. That is not currently the practice and I hope that he will confirm that it will not be the practice.

James Brokenshire: It is certainly not our plan or intention—indeed, it is not part of our process—to make those sorts of requests. As the hon. Gentleman knows, we make requests for communications data to be retained by companies in the UK. He knows of the processes and the safeguards that exist in respect of the specific requests that are made by the different agencies, and of the tests that need to be satisfied.

Sir William Cash (Stone) (Con): Does my hon. Friend accept that the impact of the European Court of Justice judgment is enormous because, in a nutshell, it will continue to be the law of the European Union irrespective of whether we pass the Bill?

James Brokenshire: Obviously, we have considered carefully the impact of the European Court of Justice judgment, the European convention on human rights and other parts of the law in examining the position. That is why we have considered the Bill so carefully. The additional safeguards and provisions that have been written into the Bill reflect that consideration. We remain confident that the provisions meet the legislative requirements.

Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): May I refer the Minister back to the question that was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash)? Does this debate not underline the importance of the report of the European Scrutiny Committee on establishing the supremacy of Parliament? I am afraid that the Minister’s response was not absolutely clear. I think he said that the Government are “confident”. Surely on matters as important as the freedom of the individual and national security, we should be more than just confident; we should be sure of the supremacy of Parliament.

James Brokenshire: As my hon. Friend knows, legislation is always subject to court challenges. That is the nature of our constitution. The House often reflects on changes that are made to the law as a consequence of decisions that are made in our courts. There is a separation of powers between the legislature, the Executive and the judiciary.

We have reflected carefully on the European Court of Justice judgment on the directive. It is important to state that that judgment related not to our domestic legislation, but to the directive. Obviously, the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 were made to implement the directive. We believe that the regulations remain in full force and effect, but the questions, doubt and risk have arisen because of how the industry and others have looked on the judgment and the regulations. Although we assert that the regulations remain extant and in full force and effect, it is essential, given the questions and points that have been raised, to deal with the risk and put the matter beyond doubt.

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John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington) (Lab): The Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights made the extremely valid point that it would have been useful if the Government had published details of how the legislation complied with each of the points that was raised in the judgment. May I take the Minister back to the point that I made earlier about paragraph 58 of the judgment? Will he point me to the place in the legislation, the regulations or the Bill that addresses the point in the judgment about providing exceptions for

“persons whose communications are subject…to the obligation of professional secrecy.”?

James Brokenshire: I know that point has been raised, and the hon. Gentleman will see that clause 1(4)(f) enables the provision of

“a code of practice in relation to relevant requirements or restrictions or relevant powers,”.

The intent is to have a statutory code of practice that will sit alongside the regulations, and there is scope to ensure that the issues relating to confidence highlighted by the hon. Gentleman are addressed in that manner. We are putting in place a legal mechanism to address his concerns and the points raised by the court.

John McDonnell: I am trying to be helpful. When will that code be published, and how will it be scrutinised?

James Brokenshire: We are seeking to ensure that the code is drafted effectively, and we are looking at ways that that scrutiny can take place, given the import we have mentioned. We will certainly look to engage appropriately to ensure that issues such as those highlighted by the hon. Gentleman on confidence, professional positions and matters such as legal professional privilege are contemplated and reflected on. Codes of practice already exist and it is now about putting that on a more statutory footing to give it statutory teeth, but I recognise his point.

Sir William Cash: My hon. Friend referred to our courts, and I am sure that by that he meant our domestic courts. Unfortunately, that is not what we have to grapple with here. The issue is what our courts may be able to do, because they are bound by section 3 of the European Communities Act 1972, which states that we must have regard to, and indeed implement as an obligation of European law, judgments of the European Court. The data retention directive is European Union law, so the regulations and replacement regulations are all derived from that assertion of the supremacy of European law. As my hon. Friend will know, I am deeply concerned about that and I hope we will come on to it later. The bottom line is that we are not able to ensure that the Bill will be effective against any European Court judgments.

James Brokenshire: Part of the reason we are introducing the Bill is to give that fundamental statutory underpinning in primary legislation. The questions raised have been as a consequence of the linkage between the old data retention regulations, and whether they are reliant on the data retention directive being in force and effect. We have asserted clearly that we do not accept that that is the case, but because of those questions we judge it important to deal with that uncertainty and risk, and ensure that that is stated clearly in primary legislation.

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Lady Hermon (North Down) (Ind): I am happy to support the legislation, but I would like to clarify one small but important point in relation to Northern Ireland. The Bill makes it clear that it extends to Northern Ireland, but the Minister will be aware that policing and justice are devolved matters. Which aspects of policing and justice or reserved matters does the Bill cover?

James Brokenshire: Given the nature of the legislation, we are clear that it is reserved, so it does not require a legislative consent motion, for example, to be passed. It clearly has that approach, given the interception powers and the communications and national security issues inherent in the powers under RIPA and reflected in the Bill. We are clear that it is a reserved piece of legislation, so it will be passed by the House without the additional requirement that may otherwise be the case.

Dr William McCrea (South Antrim) (DUP): In the light of that, the Government accept that this is a reserved matter and I am happy that that is so, but were discussions held on that with the Northern Ireland Executive before the Bill was brought to this House?

5.30 pm

James Brokenshire: We have kept the Northern Ireland Executive up to speed with the proposals, sending them details and setting out our legal analysis. As this is a reserved matter, we have a slightly different relationship than might otherwise be the case if it were a devolved matter. I hope that that is helpful. It is important to state the benefits of the clause and the regulations that will sit underneath it in respect of the whole of the United Kingdom. It has effect in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England, and will be instrumental in guarding our security and bringing those who may harm us to justice. I recognise the particular interests that have, understandably, been raised by representatives from across the United Kingdom.

The clause creates a power for the Secretary of State to give notices to communications service providers requiring them to retain relevant communications data. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has made clear, the Bill does not enable the retention of any data that cannot already be retained by communications service providers under the existing data retention regulations.

Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): Clause 1(2)(b) states that it will

“require the retention of all data or any description of data”.

Should the Bill have said, “require the retention of all communications data or any description of communications data”? As drafted, it seems broad and completely open to interpretation.

James Brokenshire: My hon. Friend needs to understand that clause 1(2) is framed in the context of clause 1, which makes it clear that it relates to “relevant communications data”. It has to be read in the context of the interrelationship between clause 1(2) and clause 1(1), which I think provides the necessary clarification and context.

The Secretary of State may give a notice only where she considers the retention requirements are necessary and proportionate for one or more of the purposes set

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out in RIPA. These include national security, preventing or detecting crime, and the interests of public safety. The clause also enables the Secretary of State to make regulations that will replace the existing data retention regulations. Those regulations will, among other things, set out the process for serving a data retention notice and the safeguards that must be put in place to protect the data. To give Parliament the opportunity to scrutinise the details of our proposals, we have published a provisional draft of the regulations. They are available in the Vote Office and have been made more widely available.

Sir William Cash: Is my hon. Friend aware that Professor Steve Peers of Essex university—he is an expert in this field, as I am sure my hon. Friend knows—has drawn attention to the objection by the Court of Justice to the requirement to retain all communications data? The fact that the directive required all data to be retained from all subscribers was the first of the considerations taken into account by the Court in reaching its conclusion that the directive was disproportionate.

James Brokenshire: If my hon. Friend reads the judgment, he will see that the Court upheld the principle of retention of data as contemplated in the Bill. A number of frameworks on the purpose for which data are retained were referred to, but we are clear that the regime the House is contemplating this evening, in the context of the Bill and how it sits alongside the existing regime of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, does provide a legally robust approach to enable our police, law enforcement and security agencies to combat organised criminality and to provide the national security that is needed. The powers we already use are intrinsic to delivering on that. The Bill makes it clear that regulations cannot specify a retention period longer than 12 months. We reflected on the judgment of the Court. As the Home Secretary said in her opening statement on Second Reading, different time periods could be allowed in relation to specific types of data.

We are maintaining that focus on proportionality and necessity not simply in terms of giving a notice, but in keeping it under review. The European Court considered that the period of retention should be based on objective criteria to ensure that it is limited to what is strictly necessary. On the basis of law enforcement surveys in 2005, 2010 and 2012, we consider that a maximum period of 12 months strikes the right balance between the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate crimes and an individual’s rights to privacy. Unlike the current regime, under which all relevant communications data is retained for 12 months, this approach will mean that data could be retained for a shorter period than 12 months if considered appropriate, and that different types of data could be retained for different periods.

Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): My hon. Friend is making a perfectly good and sound case and I am pleased that he used the phrase “the necessity of proportionality”, which is crucial. But does he accept that there is no longer a clear-cut distinction between data and content? The worry of many outside this House, therefore, is that there will be an opportunity for ever more power to be retained by CSPs and thus by

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the state. Can he give us some assurances that the Government will keep this matter constantly under review?

James Brokenshire: My hon. Friend has expressed his views on a number of occasions on the need for continued focus on the balance between individual freedoms and collective freedom, because that collective freedom relies on our being able to conduct our affairs and to live our lives free from those who would do us harm. Sometimes people have sought to describe them as if they were in parallel, but I see them as mutually reinforcing; security and liberty must go hand in hand to develop and defend the fundamental principles that we have as a society, so to frame it separately misses the point.

My hon. Friend raises the important issue of how technology is evolving; it is constantly changing. That is why we see the import of the review by David Anderson, the independent reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation, to look at the issues more broadly, and at existing legislation and capabilities. We will come on to that, I am sure, in some of the subsequent debates in this Committee where that might be teased out in further detail, but my hon. Friend makes an important point.

Sir William Cash: May I make one last intervention?

James Brokenshire: One last go.

Sir William Cash: I am extremely grateful. My hon. Friend is pursuing doggedly what I believe to be a fundamentally and ultimately erroneous assumption, as will be discovered in due course, Does he accept, as everybody else appears to, that this Bill will be within the scope of EU law and that the charter of fundamental rights and the general principle of EU law will continue to apply, and that, as he correctly pointed out when he referred to primary legislation, the only way in which we can avoid running into difficulties with European Court judgments that we do not want—which, clearly, is what the Bill is about—is by using primary legislation, such as this Bill, to disapply the provisions of European law that come through sections 2 and 3 of the European Communities Act, and that it has to be notwithstanding those provisions?

James Brokenshire: I know the clear position that my hon. Friend has enunciated on many occasions in the House. There will be wider debates and discussions on the position of the European Convention and a British bill of rights, with which my hon. Friend is very familiar and which I personally support to ensure that our domestic law is framed properly in the context of convention rights. However, we have reflected carefully on the judgment—the right hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr Straw) described it as dense and complicated—which the Bill reflects on in the nature of the obligations set out therein. We have judged that primary legislation to avoid any uncertainty is appropriate and necessary, given the huge reliance that is placed on communications data and the right to be able lawfully to intercept for the prescribed purposes. I am sure that the wider debate—and the Select Committee that my hon. Friend chairs—is focused on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over matters that are opted into and the position post-December 2014. We have reflected carefully on the application, scope and

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enforceability of the Bill and its compliance with relevant legislation of whatever kind, and we are confident that it meets that challenge.

Given that the European Court was considering only the data retention directive and not how member states implemented it, it did not take into account the rigorous controls in place in the UK as part of its judgment. Access to communications data in the UK is stringently regulated and safeguarded by the Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Act 2000. Data are retained on a case-by-case basis and must be authorised by a senior officer, at a rank stipulated by Parliament, from the organisation requesting the data. The authorising officer may approve a request for communications data only if the tests of necessity and proportionality are met in the particular case.

Our system was examined in detail by the Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill, and it was satisfied that the current internal authorisation procedure is the right model. However, to ensure that communications data cannot be accessed using information-gathering powers that are not subject to the rigorous safeguards in RIPA, the Bill ensures that data retained under this legislation may be accessed only in accordance with RIPA, a court order or other judicial authorisation or warrant.

Hon. and right hon. Members who followed the discussions surrounding the draft Communications Data Bill will be aware that communications service providers are also able to retain communications data on a voluntary basis under a code of practice made under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. This clause ensures that the regulations made under this Bill can apply the same security safeguards and access restrictions to data retained under that code. I therefore believe that the clause should stand part of the Bill.

Mr David Hanson (Delyn) (Lab): I welcome you to the Chair of this important Committee, Sir Roger. I shall not detain the Committee for long because, given that we broadly agree with the Government’s approach on this key issue, the Opposition have not tabled any amendments to clause 1.

As the Minister said, the stated context for the Bill is the continued threat from serious organised crime and potential terrorist activity. Given that the European Court of Justice struck down the regulations because they were neither proportionate nor objective, we have taken the view that we need to look at how to frame legislation that will be proportionate and objective in respect of the retention of data.

Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): I would be interested to know the Opposition’s view on the issue of our laws being trumped by section 3 of the European Communities Act 1972, as suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) in the report of the European Scrutiny Committee. Does the right hon. Gentleman believe that, in the event of a Labour Government, there might be a case for passing legislation to proclaim the supremacy of Parliament so that we can protect ourselves from European legislation?

Mr Hanson: I take the view that we are part of the European Union, so we have to respect our obligations within it. I come to this particular piece of legislation,

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however, on the basis of what will best prevent activities by terrorists, child pornographers, paedophiles or serious organised criminals. Given the actions of the European Court of Justice, we have to examine our obligations as the United Kingdom Parliament and to frame legislation that we believe will have the support of the Government—and, in this particular case, of the Opposition—to ensure that we meet our European obligations but in a way that also meets our obligation to tackle the serious and organised criminals and others who would damage the fabric of our society. I will probably have disappointed the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh) with that answer, but I believe it is consistent with our positive approach to Europe and our involvement in the European Community.

I believe that clause 1, which is the main focus of our debate, meets those obligations. It gives the Secretary of State powers to issue a retention notice requiring organisations that have data to hold those data, with which they will have to comply. Strict criteria are set out in subsection (2), which specifies who the operator could be, what the data being retained should be, for what periods the data should be retained, and whether there is different proportionality within different types of data.

5.45 pm

Clause 1 includes two important words to which we shall return later: “necessary” and “proportionate”. It allows the Government to set minimum requirements for a retention notice. It specifies

“the maximum period for which data is to be retained”.

It also “firms up” an important constitutional aspect, confirming that access to data information sources is possible only in terms of notification rather than content, and must be supported by

“a court order or other judicial authorisation”.

I think that, for those who have been concerned about these issues, the clause clarifies the powers that the Government will have, the time for which data must be retained, and the circumstances in which a court order will be needed.

Sir William Cash: Let us assume for the sake of argument that all the provisions in subsections (1) and (2) are desirable, although some people will disagree. Surely what is most important from the Opposition’s point of view is to judge whether the provisions will be effective. The right hon. Gentleman says that he wants all this because it is a good idea, but if—as is more than likely—the provisions are challenged in the European Court, where will the Opposition stand if the European Court judgment that follows the implementation of the Act eventually overturns the Act itself?

Mr Hanson: I think that the hon. Gentleman would expect me to say that if we were the Government and the legislation were in force, we would defend it in the European Court, and would put up a case for our arguments. Ultimately, however, we are part of the European Union, and the European Court is considering the impact of legislation of this kind throughout the EU. We must defend our parliamentary procedures, defend the decisions that we make and defend the

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legislation that we have, and we must argue for our the position in court. Ultimately, however, we must also take on board our European obligations.

Steve McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Lab): I wonder whether, at this point, we are pursuing the personal obsession of the hon. Member for Stone (Sir William Cash). This is emergency legislation. Surely, if it were struck down, a Labour Government would introduce, in a timely manner, properly considered legislation that would deal with the problem.

Mr Hanson: My hon. Friend has made an important point. As the hon. Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) will observe, further amendments have been tabled, and I hope that the Government will consider them. We cannot discuss them now, but they would ensure that the provisions in clause 1 would be reviewed regularly, and that we would have an opportunity to make representations to the European Court if it chose to mount a challenge. However, let me respectfully say that I think we are being sidetracked into issues that do not concern the Bill as such. I consider that it fulfils an obligation to ensure that we give powers to the police and other authorities to check data and examine the conduct of that data. It establishes a definitive time scale for the holding of the data, and enables us to frame in legislation, in this United Kingdom Parliament, the mechanisms that are required to achieve that through court orders. That is why I support the clause and why the Opposition have tabled no amendments to it.

Sir William Cash: The European law on which this legislation is ultimately based is a retention directive. We anticipate there will be replacement regulations, but it does not matter whether the original regulations or replacement regulations are involved. Ultimately, the authority on which this Bill is based, and on which the whole of this general issue is based, is European law and the charter of fundamental rights and principles of European law which apply. As the shadow Minister just said, it so happens we have voluntarily accepted the obligations imposed under section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972 in respect of compliance with a directive and any further directives that may or may not be made, and we have also voluntarily accepted that the United Kingdom will accept all judgments of the European Court under section 3 of that Act.

It so happens that we are providing in our own domestic legislation for certain safeguards, modifications and changes—based, it would appear, on the fact that we are now discussing a Bill of this Parliament—which interfere with, cross over, interweave with and—

The Temporary Chair (Sir Roger Gale): Order. The hon. Gentleman knows me well enough to know that I know that we are discussing clause 1, not the Bill as a whole.

Sir William Cash: In respect of clause 1, we are also stating that a retention notice may relate to particular operators, and there is a whole set of subsections and paragraphs dealing with the basis on which a retention notice can be provided. It also goes on to say, in subsection (3), that the Secretary of State can

“by regulations make further provision about the retention of relevant communications data.”

Subsection (4) deals with certain provisions relating to

“requirements before giving a retention notice”,

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and a code of practice and a range of other matters regarding

“the integrity, security or protection of, access to, or the disclosure or destruction of, data retained by virtue of this section”.

I entirely accept your point, of course, Sir Roger, that this is a debate on this clause, but this clause contains the essential powers that are being proposed under this piece of domestic legislation, and I am certain—this is not an assertion—that this has to be compliant with European law and it has to be compliant with the charter.

All I am saying is simply that there is an opportunity to make sure this law is effective—that clause 1 is effective. If Parliament wants clause 1 to be effective, it will want to be sure that it is bomb-proof against any challenges that may be made in respect of powers being conferred by clause 1, and in order to do that we have to get around the problem of the European Court, which has already issued an objection to the original proposals—the original regulations and the original retention directive on which the regulations are based, and, indeed, on which any subsequent regulations will be based, because I have not heard anyone yet say that the retention directive, which is the subject of clause 1, is going to be repealed by the European Union. There was some talk from the Home Secretary that she was looking at it, and there was talk about consultation, but I have not heard anybody suggest that the retention directive is going to be repealed in whole or in part. It may be that that will happen, but we are considering this Bill as it is now, and as we speak clause 1 is derived from European law and the charter of fundamental rights.

In a nutshell, this is what I am saying: section 2 of the 1972 Act requires the implementation of the requirements prescribed by the European directives and European law, and the Bill falls within the scope of European law, and the charter and the general principle of EU law will continue to apply. I will respond to the shadow Minister and the Minister in one simple statement, and it is this. If they want the legislation in clause 1 to be effective, it is imperative to make certain that arrangements are made in the primary legislation that the House is now discussing to ensure that sections 2 and 3 of the European Communities Act 1972 do not apply in this context, because that is the only way—by primary legislation—to ensure that the powers in clause 1 will not be vitiated by a further Court challenge in future. This is a fundamental question that pertains to the supremacy of Parliament. We want the legislation to pass—or many Members of the House do, judging by the majority that we have just witnessed—but if that is the case, why not insert the formula

“notwithstanding sections 2 and 3 of the European Communities Act 1972”

to ensure that clause 1 will survive? Otherwise, I fear that it is at risk.

The Home Secretary talked about wanting to remove the risk of uncertainty. All I would say is that what we are doing on the Floor of this House is compounding and creating the very uncertainty that she said she wanted to avoid. The uncertainty will come simply and solely because of the ideological obsession with not making provision in an Act—which otherwise would make it a good enactment—to include the words

“notwithstanding the European Communities Act 1972”,

and then legislating on our own terms. If we do not do that, this clause and all that follows from it will be at risk, and there will indeed be uncertainty arising from it.

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If I may make this final point, Sir Roger. When the charter of fundamental rights was going through, I tabled an amendment to include the words “notwithstanding the European Communities Act 1972”. The charter applies to this clause, and as I said to the Prime Minister the other day—and it is understood—the only thing we can do is either to accept that the charter is applicable in the United Kingdom or to displace it. By including in the Bill the words “notwithstanding the European Communities Act 1972”, the charter will not apply. I tabled such an amendment to the Lisbon treaty legislation. That amendment was declined and the result is that we now have a series of European Court judgments saying that the charter does apply to the United Kingdom. If my amendment had been accepted—back in 2008, I think it was—we would not be having to face the fact that the charter is now applicable.

The charter arises in relation to this provision, and all I am asking is for the Minister and those on the Opposition Benches to listen and to act to ensure that we are not trumped by a challenge by the European Court, guided through the legislation and case law, to override legislation that is passed in this House of Parliament. It is very simple.

Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (LD): This clause is about retention; it is not about access. That distinction is an important one, not least to anybody reading these debates or drawing conclusions from them. It is also something that might profitably have been considered at greater length by the European Court when it reached its judgment.

There is a big difference in the impact on somebody’s human rights between the retention of data and having access to those data, which we will deal with in subsequent clauses. Of course, companies retain data for their own commercial purposes, such as billing and a variety of other reasons. They are constrained by the Data Protection Act—they have to have a legitimate purpose for doing so—but they have many purposes that can enable them to keep data. It is important to recognise that the problem from a human rights and privacy point of view arises when access is made—when a Government body can go into that mine of data and discover a lot of things about somebody’s life. It might have a number of good reasons to do that—to identify whether that person is involved in a serious crime—but those reasons have to be justified by some kind of procedure. We can consider that aspect later, but we must recognise that this part of the Bill is confined to the power of retention.

The Government’s answer to the argument advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) is that, in framing the retention provisions, they will not be obliged to make the same provision for every kind and every aspect of data. That should satisfy the European Court provision. If ever this comes to a legal challenge, I hope that there will be some attempt to make the Court think a little more carefully about the fact that retention and access are not the same thing.

6 pm

Sir William Cash: My right hon. Friend has been in this House for many years. Does he recall that a situation similar to the kind that I have been describing arose in relation to the Factortame case? The European Court, through our own courts, ended up by striking down the

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Merchant Shipping Act 1988 because the Government did not get the legislation right, which they could do this time round.

Sir Alan Beith: I have only remembered the case because my hon. Friend made the same point on a previous occasion. He has not been slow to point that case out. It is worth remembering—this may not be an approved thing to say—that the European Court is not always entirely consistent from one judgment to the next in the way that it applies its principles. It is important that we make it absolutely clear that we have a set of rules to ensure that the Government only require the retention of data when they have good purpose for doing so, and they only retain those kinds of data for which there is good purpose. Access to that data should be the subject of stringent conditions. In essence, that was what the European Court judgment was about, and the Government are meeting those conditions in the way that they have framed this legislation. That is not to say that they could not be open to challenge; perhaps they will be at some point. If that challenge is made, we should make it quite clear how important the distinction is between retention and access to data.

James Brokenshire: My right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir Alan Beith) makes his point well. He talks about the retention of data, the security and assurance that is provided and the separate regime that relates to access to data and how that is reflected in the Bill’s provisions. Those provisions relate to the retaining of data, the safeguards that exist and some of the steps that we propose to take in relation to the Information Commissioner and the powers that he has to ensure that the data are retained securely. Then there is the separate regime that relates to the rights of different agencies, as set out in legislation, to gain access to that data. My right hon. Friend understands that concept and expressed it well.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) has highlighted the point about seeking to put beyond doubt that any legal challenge to this Bill should be considered by this Parliament and by the courts of the United Kingdom. Given the backdrop to this legislation—the data protection directive—and the approach that the European Court of Justice has taken in striking down the directive, I suppose I can understand why he is motivated to raise these issues in the Committee this evening. His comments raise broader points about the European Communities Act 1972. Our membership of the EU is wider than this Bill, and I respect the consistent way in which he has advanced those issues in the House.

We have considered carefully the existing law and legislation, and we have reflected on the European Court of Justice judgment in seeing what further measures can be put into effect to reduce the risk of challenge. That risk of challenge is most likely to heard within the UK courts than the European courts, as that is where challenge to the legislation might be flagged up in the first instance. Legislation is challenged in our courts from time to time. We believe that we have considered carefully the compliance of the Bill with the necessary regulatory requirements and remain confident that it meets those requirements.

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Sir William Cash: I simply ask the Minister whether he accepts—he has more or less done so—that there is a risk that the sort of principles that were applied in the case of the Merchant Shipping Act could apply to the Bill as drafted, and that the only way of dealing with that would be to employ the “notwithstanding” formula to ensure that the Bill actually survives for the reasons of terrorism, national security, child pornography and child abuse that were properly mentioned earlier. Does he accept that what I am proposing is effectively to sustain the provisions of this domestic enactment and that I am not just making a general speech about the sovereignty of the UK Parliament?

James Brokenshire: I understand my hon. Friend’s points. I am always sympathetic to the aim of having clarity in legislation, which is why we are taking the Bill forward this evening. I do not want to discuss an amendment that we have not yet reached, so I hesitate to engage further in that context, because it would be inappropriate. However, amendments need to be considered carefully for their unintended consequences. Legislation is always subject to legal challenge of whatever kind. I am talking about not only this Bill, but all forms of legislation. The separation of powers between this place, the Executive and the judiciary is part of our constitution and part of how legislation, of whatever nature, can be challenged in our courts. While I understand his desire to try to avoid that through express language, I do not think he is able to rule out challenges before our courts for a whole host of different reasons.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

The Temporary Chair (Sir Roger Gale): Before we move on to clause 2, I should inform the House that the Home Secretary has tabled new clause 7 and amendments 7 and 8, which the Chairman of Ways and Means has selected. They will be debated with the amendments and new clauses relating to clause 6. I am advised that copies are available in the Vote Office.

Clause 2

Section 1: supplementary

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

James Brokenshire: Clause 2 sets out the meaning of various terms used in clause 1 and includes provisions that underpin and support the application of the powers contained in that clause. In particular, the definition of “relevant communications data” in clause 2 limits the communications data that can be retained to those specified in the existing data retention regulations: the data that are already being retained by service providers in the UK. To be absolutely clear, the Bill does not extend in any way the types of data that we will be asking service providers to retain.

The capability gaps identified and discussed during scrutiny of the draft Communications Data Bill will not be addressed and will continue to grow, impacting on UK law enforcement. As important as that matter is, I am sure that the Committee will agree that fast-track legislation is not the appropriate vehicle for considering

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addressing such gaps. The Prime Minister has made it clear that it is important that the issue is addressed in the next Parliament.

The clause also provides that the regulations made under clause 1 must be made under the affirmative procedure. We have placed in the Library a draft of the regulations that we intend to make, which will give Parliament the maximum possible opportunity, given the urgency of the matter, to consider the detailed contents of the regime before secondary legislation is taken through.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 2 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3

Grounds for issuing warrants and obtaining data

Mr George Howarth (Knowsley) (Lab): I beg to move amendment 1, page 4, line 19, at end insert—

‘(5) In section 25 (interpretation of Chapter 11), subsection (1), after “in accordance with subsection (2);”, insert— ““economic well-being of the United Kingdom” is defined as the security of critical national infrastructure, the conduct of defence contracts, the development, manufacture and design of UK defence systems, and the stability of the UK currency, banking and financial systems.”

The Temporary Chair (Sir Roger Gale): With this it will be convenient to discuss clause stand part; there will be no further debate on clause stand part.

Mr Howarth: It was said on Second Reading, but it bears repeating that clause 3 does move things on slightly on the question of economic well-being. We keep saying that the Bill is based on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, but explicitly relating economic well-being to national security is progress, because the relationship was previously implicit. I accept that clause 3, even as it stands, is progress from where we stood previously.

I constructed this amendment, which is intended as a probing amendment, because I thought it was as well to have a debate about the range and scope of the term “economic well-being”. I wanted to try to work out the range of concerns that should be taken into account when it comes to that concept. In the amendment, I have effectively highlighted three areas that I think are of concern and that ought at least to be taken into account in this context. The first is critical national infrastructure, and I shall say a little more about that in a moment. The second is the conduct of defence contracts and the development, manufacture and design of UK defence systems. The third is the stability of the UK currency, banking and financial systems.

On the question of critical national infrastructure, an organisation that has some responsibility in this regard is the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, which provides protective security advice aimed at reducing the vulnerability of critical national infrastructure to national security threats. It categorises national infrastructure into nine sectors: communications, emergency services, energy, financial services, food, government, health, transport and water. Not everything in that list is considered critical in nature, so the CPNI contends that within those nine sectors

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“there are certain ‘critical’ elements of infrastructure, the loss or compromise of which would have a major detrimental impact on the availability or integrity of essential services, leading to severe economic or social consequences or to loss of life.”

It draws attention to broad descriptions of the types of infrastructure that would be categorised at different levels. That infrastructure can be physical, which means sites, installations or pieces of equipment, or it can be logistical, which includes information networks or systems. It is important that economic well-being takes into account critical national infrastructure, because it directly relates to the continuation of daily life that electricity, water and all the things that go with them should be available.

I do not propose to speak for long about defence, but I am aware, as I am sure others listening to the debate will be, that there have been attempts in the past by hostile nation states or individuals to compromise defence systems. There have been attempts to break into companies’ design systems and so on. Without proper controls to deal with that, there could be serious consequences for our national security. It is therefore self-evident that we should take into account defence systems and their design, manufacture and so on when we consider this matter.

The amendment also refers to

“the stability of the UK currency, banking and financial systems.”

It is interesting to look at what the Serious Organised Crime Agency has to say. It concludes by talking about cybercrime and the effects that it can have. It says:

“Financial crime can jeopardise the integrity of our financial markets and institutions.”

That is not just a question of protecting individual firms or interests. It really is related to our national security. It is interesting that the International Monetary Fund has said that

“Money laundering, terrorist financing and the related…crimes can undermine the stability of a country’s financial system or its broader economy in a number of ways and may have adverse spillover effects on global instability.”

6.15 pm

So SOCA and the IMF have stated their concerns. The National Security Council has talked in terms of

“Transnational organised crime which threatens economic interests and can cause significant damage to the world financial system through its subversion, exploitation and distortion of legitimate markets and economic activity”.

It lists such things as bribery of key officials, money laundering, disruption of global supply chains, criminals leveraging their relationship with state-owned entities, industries or state-allied actors, allowing them to gain influence over key commodities markets, and potential exploitation of the transportation sector.

I have tried to illustrate that this issue is not something that only I am concerned about. National and international agencies and, indeed, the Government are on the record as expressing concern. I would be interested to hear from the Minister, if he thinks my definition of “economic well-being” is defective, examples of things that should be covered that are not encompassed by the amendment.

Sir Alan Beith: The right hon. Gentleman serves on the Intelligence and Security Committee, and I used to serve on it. When I did, I was a little concerned that the definition of “economic well-being” was extremely broad

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and could refer to things that might generally promote Britain’s economic interest, rather than matters related to national security, as the Bill helpfully defines economic well-being, or things that should be dealt with under other categories such as serious crime. There are serious threats, and the right hon. Gentleman is right to identify them. They are what this should be about.

Mr Howarth: That intervention was helpful. I said at the outset that the wording of clause 3 took us slightly further. It relates economic well-being explicitly to national security, whereas previously it was related implicitly. The right hon. Gentleman is right to say that that is the conditional element of it all. I do not think that I am drawing the definition too broadly; the interpretation could be even broader. My purpose is to find out what other factors fall under that broad heading of economic well-being. I do not for one minute think that I have included all the considerations in the short amendment that I have put together; it is merely a vehicle to allow us to discuss matters more fully.

It was interesting when we discussed the timetable for the Bill—you may rule this comment out of order, Sir Roger—that everyone said that there would not be enough time to discuss it. As far as I am aware, nobody else is due to speak on my amendment, and I do not think any other speeches are intended on clause 3, so perhaps we do have enough time.

Mr Tom Watson (West Bromwich East) (Lab) rose

Mr Howarth: I see that I have tempted my hon. Friend into intervening.

Mr Watson: Does my right hon. Friend accept that perhaps most of our colleagues have not had time to read his amendment because of the timetable that has been set?

Mr Howarth: I am interested to hear my hon. Friend’s concern. I went to the Vote Office at half-past 8 this morning just to make sure that the amendment had been tabled. Anybody who was interested enough would have been able to see it from half-past 8, and it was tabled in accordance with the procedures of the House yesterday evening. I do not want to labour the point, but there was enough time, if anybody was interested enough, to check what amendments had been tabled. I am sure that my hon. Friend, as the author of another amendment that we will discuss later, took the trouble of checking this morning that his had been included as well. We do have a responsibility to check what we are debating.

This is my small attempt to bring further enlightenment to the proceedings, particularly as regards clause 3. I hope that the Minister will be able to allay my fears that the provision may be too widely drawn.

Mark Field: I fear that it was wishful thinking on the part of the right hon. Member for Knowsley (Mr Howarth) to assume that there would be no other speakers on this matter. As he will know, because we discussed it yesterday as members of the Intelligence and Security Committee, I wholeheartedly approve of this amendment.

Mr Howarth: The hon. Gentleman’s contribution is very welcome.

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Mark Field: I am grateful. I will keep my contribution as short as possible, because other Members want to get on to some of the more important amendments to clause 6 and it is clear that there is no appetite to divide the Committee on this matter.

As the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir Alan Beith) said, it is worrying that, all too often, the “economic well-being” head has been drawn so widely that many aspects of it could be seen as part and parcel of something that could fall within the ambit of RIPA and this Bill. One need only look at the controversy around the alleged bugging of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, by the National Security Agency, if the Snowden reports are to be believed. On the grounds, presumably, of economic well-being, there was an opportunity to listen to particular conversations. That is not a healthy state of affairs.

Many of the public concerns about the Bill that are close to all our hearts reflect an understanding and an appreciation from many of our constituents that certain intelligence needs to be picked up, but the process needs to be necessary and proportionate. Therefore, trying to draw a narrow view—not an overly restrictive view, but as narrow a view as possible—will command more public confidence.

“Economic well-being” is one of the various heads that come under the auspices of RIPA—the 2000 Act that controls most of the surveillance that is dealt with in the Bill. Rather worryingly, permissible purposes under the Bill, as under RIPA, will include

“any purpose (not falling within paragraphs (a) to (g)) which is specified for the purposes of this subsection by an order made by the Secretary of State.”

That is almost a Henry VIII-type provision that relates to the issue of public confidence that is close to all our hearts.

I agree with the right hon. Member for Knowsley that we should be trying to define the terms more narrowly. Perhaps now is not exactly the right time to do it, but I hope we will be able to do so in the months and years ahead when it comes to having a fully fledged Bill on these very important matters.

I agree that we have to look at economic well-being as focusing on the security of the critical national infrastructure, defence contracts and—something close to my own heart—the stability of the UK currency, banking and financial systems, particularly with the ongoing and likely to become more acute issue of cybercrime, and cyber-security issues that will come as part and parcel of that.

I do not wish to detain the Committee any longer. It is important that we put some of these concerns in place. As I say, they have a more general bearing on the idea that if we are to get a sense of public confidence about this sort of legislation, we need to try to define it as narrowly as possible rather than having broad definitions in place. I think that that is what the right hon. Gentleman had in mind in tabling the amendment and I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response.

Dr Huppert: I have heard several comments that clause 3 does not need to be in fast-track legislation, and it does not relate to an impending emergency, but I would not like to see it removed. It is a good, pro-civil liberties, pro-privacy clause, which just trims down what

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was always quite a bizarrely broad definition. It restricts the issuing of interception warrants on grounds such as national security—fair enough; serious crime—or the UK’s economic well-being, which is a broad concept, as was being discussed. The wording is taken from article 8(2) of the European convention on human rights, which is why we have that idea, but it could be interpreted broadly. There have been a number of discussions about whether, for example, it would enable lawful intercept to be used to find out what other companies are bidding against British companies. That is something that I think the House would be clear now is simply not acceptable—the Government have a stated policy on that—but it is not excluded by law. I think we would all say that it is simply not appropriate, so I am pleased that we are taking the opportunity of this legislation to trim this down; to try to make sure that it is only economic well-being as it relates to national security.

I appreciate that this is a probing amendment, but I have a number of issues with it. In particular, I am concerned that some of the language around

“the conduct of defence contracts”,

and the

“manufacture and design of UK defence systems”,

sounds worryingly as though it is saying that the House believes that it is okay to have interception to win defence contracts against a foreign bidder, or to make sure that we do well. I hope that that is not what is intended.

Mr George Howarth indicated dissent.

Dr Huppert: The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, so that is clear. But I would be very worried about anything that suggested that.

Mr Howarth: My concern was not to empower interception for those purposes, but to empower countermeasures in cases where hostile states or hostile individuals sought to break into those systems. I think I did say that. As I said, I do not claim for one moment that it is a perfectly worded amendment, but that was my intention.

Dr Huppert: That is helpful. There is general agreement, but it was something that struck me when I read the amendment earlier this morning. I note that there are not many Members in the Chamber. Sadly, the House is often like that, however much time has been given for debate or however much notice.

There is a question as to whether it is helpful to define economic well-being. It may be that it is just too hard. Perhaps scholars of the future will look at this discussion and many others to try to work out what is meant. It should relate to things that would be catastrophic; where the effect of failing to stop something would be equivalent to a national security problem or a serious crime. It is that sort of level.

Katy Clark (North Ayrshire and Arran) (Lab): There is a huge amount of concern that the legislation as it was previously and has been presented today could be used for political or industrial purposes. For example, it could be used to intercept information when a trade union was organising industrial action. Is his reading of the amendment such that it could be used in a situation such as the miners’ strike of 1984-85?

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Dr Huppert: I do not know the answer to the hon. Lady’s question. That would seem inappropriate if it was about a trade union problem. If it was about ensuring that there was not a catastrophic failure of national infrastructure, there might be some grounds, but I would be alarmed if it was used for what were clearly political arguments. From my perspective, the miners’ strike would seem to be an inappropriate use of anything like this. I do not think we should ever see anything like that.

Mr Howarth: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me the opportunity to reassure my hon. Friend the Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Katy Clark) that it was certainly never my intention that it should be used for the purposes she described. I believe strongly in free trade unions and can think of no circumstances in which the state should intervene in that way.

Dr Huppert: I am always delighted to enable two Labour Members to talk to each other. Having facilitated that conversation, and as I agree with what both of them said, I will end my remarks there.

6.30 pm

Mr Hanson: I will make a short contribution in support of my right hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley (Mr Howarth), who I think made some extremely valid points in relation to amendment 1. I believe that the Government should at least look at it favourably and give a positive response covering the issues he raised. He indicated that issues such as defence contracts and national infrastructure are crucial to the United Kingdom’s infrastructure. I simply want to endorse his points.

I have one question for the Minister on clause 3. I think I know what it means, as I think most people do, but it would be helpful if the Minister outlined what he believes the statement

“relevant to the interests of national security”

means in practice. The clause gives the Secretary of State powers

“in circumstances appearing to the Secretary of State to be relevant to the interests of national security”.

An explanation from the Minister would be helpful, because I have received some representations on what it means, and my hon. Friend the Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Katy Clark) has made the point that it could be defined very widely. I think that it would help to reassure those outside the House if the Minister could give some clarity today by putting on the record what I think we already know.

James Brokenshire: I thank the right hon. Member for Knowsley (Mr Howarth) for tabling the amendment and giving us an opportunity to look in detail at clause 3 and at the importance of the economic well-being purpose currently retained in RIPA. Let me set out a little more context. Clause 3 translates into primary legislation a constraint—it is intended to be a constraint—on the exercise of this purpose that is already provided for in the codes of practice issued under section 71 of RIPA. It effectively puts those statements into primary legislation. It requires that an interception warrant is only issued, and access to communications data only authorised, for the purposes of economic well-being where there is also an independent national security justification for the

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authorisation. It is intended to be read in that context. I hope that explanation is helpful as we explore some of the language in the Bill.

Clause 3 does not mean that economic well-being for the purposes of RIPA is synonymous with national security, but the amendment gives us the opportunity to underline the fact that there has to be that connection between the two, which obviously is relevant in determining whether or not the powers under RIPA can be exercised for the statutory purposes. Along with national security and the prevention and detection of serious crime, protecting the UK’s economic well-being is one of the statutory functions of the security and intelligence agencies, which are set out in the Security Service Act 1989 and the Intelligence Services Act 1994.

I understand and recognise the points made by the right hon. Member for Knowsley. I think that this debate has been quite useful in airing some of the cyber-security and cybercrime issues that I know he has raised in the House on a number of occasions. It has also highlighted our reliance on information communications technology, which is now a core part of our national infrastructure. I think that there is read-across into other legislation. I understand that he tabled the amendment on a probing basis, but I think that it requires careful thought.

A definition of economic well-being is reflected in the legislation I have mentioned—RIPA being the key focus for this evening’s debate—but it is also important to acknowledge its context as a well-established principle in law. Its origins lie in the European convention on human rights, which provides for exceptions to article 8—the right to a private and family life—when it is in the interest of the economic well-being of the country. Many aspects, therefore, are wrapped up in the broad context of how the definition has come about and the interpretations of it. Case law may also sit alongside this provision in determining the scope and ambit of the definition, so seeking to clarify it may have unintended consequences.

Katy Clark: The Minister will be aware that in the past the security services have taken a great interest in political campaigns and, indeed, industrial matters. I mentioned the miners’ strike in my previous intervention. Will he give an assurance that the proposed legislation will not be used against political activists or, indeed, trade union activists in situations similar to last year’s Grangemouth dispute and the miners’ strike?

James Brokenshire: It is always difficult for Ministers—not just me; this has been the case with successive Governments—to comment on security and interception matters. Perhaps it will help the hon. Lady if I explain that what we are doing tonight is strengthening the position by underlining that the purpose has to be connected to national security, so it is not simply a question of economic well-being. The fact that we are putting that into legislation is an important development, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert) has said.