Charter of Fundamental Rights – Government Report

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham 4:15 pm, 21st November 2017

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is such an invitation, and it is a terrible risk to take. Frankly, I think it is playing fast and loose with a very important part of the UK economy.

Let me finish by quoting the industry body representing this part of the UK economy, Tech UK, which is very deeply concerned about this issue and supports amendment 151. It makes the point that

“the Government must do all it can to ensure that we are in the best possible position to secure adequacy, and this includes making clear, at every opportunity, that the UK’s data protection framework is equivalent to the one we have operated as an EU Member State.”

Leaving article 8 off the statute book seriously imperils the future achievement of such an adequacy determination. We will of course argue that our arrangements are adequate, but for data exchanges with EU countries, it will not be our call; it will be their call. They will make the decision: the call will be made by officials and politicians in the European Union and by the European Court of Justice. It is running too great a risk for our digital economy—at 10% of GDP, it is proportionately the biggest digital economy anywhere in the G20—and I urge the Committee not to run that risk or to play fast and loose with the UK economy, but to accept amendment 151.