Bulk interception warrants

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 7th June 2016.

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Photo of Gavin Robinson Gavin Robinson Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights) 2:45 pm, 7th June 2016


I commented in the Tea Room earlier that I probably would not get the opportunity to contribute on Third Reading because the debate yesterday and today has been dominated by heavyweights. When I said that to a Government Member, he looked oddly surprised that I would not satisfy that criterion. I am pleased to have the opportunity not only to speak at this point on consideration, but to make the point that it would have been wholly worthwhile to have had just one Northern Ireland voice on the Bill Committee.

Members will have recognised just how considered and detailed the process has been. On Second Reading I focused my remarks solely on the prison officer, Adrian Ismay, who had been murdered in my constituency and died that very day. I made the point that we cannot continue to have abstract conversations about the impact of terrorism or about the protection that we as a state need on national security grounds, because in the here and now it is a matter of protecting us today, tomorrow and for every day to come.

I pay tribute to the Security Minister, the Solicitor General and all those Members who have so collegiately engaged in making sure that what, in years gone by, was a difficult process with the Draft Communications Data Bill—the snoopers charter—has been set aside during what I believe has been a very encouraging debate and thoughtful consideration of the Bill. Credit is due to the Minister and his team.

A point was made by the shadow Home Affairs Minister in arguing for amendments 303 to 305, and I would be grateful if Keir Starmer considered this issue. We have had contributions from Mr Grieve on new clause 3 and he made the point that it would not be appropriate to retain the datasets—personal data—that engage mental or physical health issues. In the light of that, I would be keen to hear from the shadow Minister on how he believes that deals with amendments 303 to 305. If new clause 3 were passed, would those amendments be necessary?

I understand that it may not be possible for the shadow Minister to respond, although I am happy to give way. It would be useful to know whether those three amendments are likely to be pressed to a Division or whether he believes that new clause 3 deals adequately with the protections for personal health data.