Leaving the EU: Data Transfers

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade) 12:00 am, 1st November 2018

What progress the Government have made on securing an adequacy decision from the EU to ensure uninterrupted UK-EU data transfers after the UK leaves the EU.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The United Kingdom has made it clear that we are ready to begin discussions on an adequacy assessment. The Commission has not yet indicated a timetable for such an assessment. Ministers and officials from DCMS and other Departments have visited member states and EU institutions to deliver the Government’s message on the importance of that decision to the UK and to the EU, and on the need to start now, and we will continue to do this.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade)

Data adequacy is vital to financial services. TheCityUK tells us that what has been suggested so far does not provide a long-term, sustainable solution. Now that Government sources are distancing themselves from their own overnight reports of an adequacy deal, will the Secretary of State stop the spin and tell us what the Government are going to do and when they are going to reach the agreement on data that is so vital to our financial services?

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

There is no spin here. One of two things will be true: either we will reach a deal with the EU, in which case I expect data to be part of that deal; or we will not, in which case we will seek an adequacy decision. It is very much in the interests of both sides —EU and UK—for these arrangements to be made.

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Labour, Cambridge

I have a major internet-based hotel and travel-booking company in my constituency. In the absence of an adequacy deal, it will have to strike 72,000 separate contractual agreements with hotels across Europe. Does the Secretary of State understand that if Brexit means Brexit, no deal means no holiday?

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

I think that is ever so slightly on the alarmist side. It is important for us all to bear in mind that the starting point is that we comply with all the data adequacy measures that the EU requires and we have implemented the general data protection regulation, so we are in a very good position as we begin the discussions and can therefore be optimistic about their outcome.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

Is it not abundantly clear that an agreement is just as important to the EU as it is to us, so it will happen either way?

Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield

We are blessed in this country to have—