Bulk interception warrants

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:00 pm on 7th June 2016.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office) 2:00 pm, 7th June 2016

That word necessary is important in all of this. As I say, the review team’s ability to assess whether the same result could have been achieved through alternative investigative methods is important to that exercise and the confidence that we can have in the outcome.

Pressing on, the letter goes on to say that

“all necessary information, access and assistance as is needed for the review” will be provided. It then states:

“We are absolutely clear that there is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by in any way restricting the review team’s access to sensitive and classified material where this is necessary to inform the review process.”

On timing, it states

“you are correct that the review will be concluded in time to inform Parliament’s consideration of Parts 6 and 7 of the Bill at the Lords Committee.”

There is a complete and instructive response to the request in my letter and that will help a great deal in how the review is received.

The review is important. It is not just an exercise for us in this House or those in the other place; it is for the public. As the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield said, some Members of this House have had access to some of the powers and have seen them in operation either in previous roles or in briefings to the members of various Committees. However, it is no longer enough, nor should it be, for members of the public for politicians to stand up and say, “I have had it demonstrated to me that these powers are necessary or have been used in a particular way.” They have the right to as much information as possible to make decisions for themselves.