Bulk interception warrants

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:15 pm on 7th June 2016.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office) 2:15 pm, 7th June 2016

I do agree with that, and I have emphasised to the security and intelligence services that there is value in this exercise from their perspective, in making the operational case for the powers that they exercise and wish to continue exercising. That is another good reason for the review.

There has been an ongoing concern, raised first by the Scottish National party and then by Labour in Committee, about access to medical records. The concern for Labour, which I am sure is the shared position, has been about “patient information”, as defined by section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006. That means information relating to mental health, adult social care, child social care and health services. I do not need to spell out for the House why many members of the public—my constituents and, I am sure, those of many Members—are deeply concerned about the very notion of the security and intelligence services having bulk access to those sorts of sensitive records. We tabled an amendment in Committee proposing a high threshold for the exercise of powers in relation to those records, and this is reflected in amendments 303 to 305 before the House today.

The Government have tabled new clause 14 in response to our demands. Although it does not take the same form as amendments 303 to 305, on my analysis, because of the way subsection (6) is framed, it would cover mental health, adult social care, child social care and health service records. If, either now or at some convenient point, the Minister could indicate that his understanding is that it would cover those records, I will not press amendments 303 to 305 to a vote.