Bulk interception warrants

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 7th June 2016.

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Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Conservative, Tonbridge and Malling 3:45 pm, 7th June 2016

No, I am afraid I will not. I have given way enough.

It would be baffling to look at that list and accuse people of such integrity of having anything other than the best intentions. The important thing, however, is that we not only trust them, but supervise them. We trust but verify, as the old diplomatic phrase goes. The verification comes from the commissioners, which were listed yesterday, with their explanations, which Mr Howarth was talking about yesterday. The supervision also comes from the Minister, and ultimately and eventually from the House.

I am therefore reassured that the Bill is not a snoopers charter or a grubby attempt to procure the information of the private citizens of these islands. On the contrary, this is an extremely effective Bill. It has been through months of discussion, and hours of detailed and deliberate interrogation. It has satisfied the extremely demanding standards of the Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, and the exemplary work of the former Director of Public Prosecutions, the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras, whom I am pleased to see on the Opposition Front Bench.

The Bill comes to the House as a nigh-on complete work. Even so, the Government have considered and accepted amendments and further changes. We have not only a final but a polished copy of a Bill that is designed to do exactly what this country vitally needs. It does exactly what the Government are here to do. It keeps the people of these islands safe, whatever their background, origins, occupation or duties.

Fundamentally, it also protects the freedoms that we enjoy. Those freedoms are not, as the Americans put it, free. They are fought for every day, by the people on the list in schedule 4 that I have identified—our armed forces and our intelligence services. That is why I am so proud to be here today to speak up for the intelligence services who have asked for those powers; for the armed forces who require them; for the police who use them; and most importantly for the Government and, in this case, the official Opposition, who have so carefully crafted a legal document that will hold water today and for long into the future.