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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Chris Stephens Chris Stephens Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment) 6:45 pm, 14th October 2020

Thanks very much, Mr Deputy Speaker. You had signalled to me that you were not going to call me, so I am a bit surprised.

To allow time for the Front-Bench speeches, I will briefly continue the Serco theme. I am concerned to hear that Serco got a contract without any competitive tendering. My real concern is that last year both Serco and the Home Office argued in court—sadly, they were successful—that because Serco was a private contractor delivering a public service, it was exempt from the Human Rights Act. To give Serco a contract like test and tracing, with all that could happen with data, and for it to be exempt from the Human Rights Act, is very dangerous territory for the Government.

It has been said before that Serco has now subcontracted to 29 other companies, including those that have failed on HMRC contracts and in other places. That is of real concern. There is a lack of scrutiny here and I will be supporting the motion.