Bulk interception warrants

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 7th June 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 4:00 pm, 7th June 2016

My hon. and learned Friend, with an assiduity that is matched by her intellect, has identified the fundamental flaw in the argument of our critics, which is that those who have looked at these matters most carefully have concluded both that these powers are necessary and that the safeguards we are introducing in this Bill—and by the way, these powers have existed for a long time; this is the first chance we have had to debate the legislative safeguards—are not only numerous but rigorous, in the way she has described. That was precisely the point that David Anderson made.

However, the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras, in Committee and since, has said we need to do more. There are two ways for Governments to handle Oppositions, just as there are two ways for Oppositions to handle Governments: we can either do it antagonistically or we can do it co-operatively. The way I go about my work is inspired perhaps by Samuel Johnson—the great Dr Johnson, the man who said, by the way, that the devil was the first Whig, and I agree with him on that. Samuel Johnson said:

“Life cannot subsist in society but by reciprocal concessions.”

This Bill has been a model of that kind of reciprocal approach. And by the way, these concessions have not been climbdowns. They have not been given reluctantly, they have not been turnarounds and they have not been in any sense wrung out of the Government. Nevertheless, they have been given on the basis of the proper pressure exerted by the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras and other hon. Members for the Government to do more. Good government is about listening and learning, as I said yesterday, and that is precisely what we have done in respect of this review. I look forward to it and I anticipate its outcome with the same kind of interest that I know the hon. and learned Gentleman and others share.