New Clause 1 - Report on the Prime Minister’s engagement with the Intelligence and Security Committee

Part of Investigatory Powers (Amendment)Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 8:00 pm on 25 March 2024.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey 8:00, 25 March 2024

Yes, and it is clearly important that there is a reassurance that the Secretary of State who is picked to do that job in these exceptional circumstances will either have previous experience of being responsible for warrantry and issuing warrants, or have current experience. I do not see why the Security Minister cannot concede that that is where we should be. I do not understand why, over all of the parliamentary time spent on this Bill, the Government have not been able to give us that assurance, which just shores up the important nature of the commitment to widening the triple lock.

Clearly, the Minister’s very welcome decision to make the concession on amendment 23, as my right hon. Friend Mr Jones has just pointed out, strengthens the situation, because that means the Prime Minister will have to be notified of such a warrant. However, my right hon. Friend is also correct in pointing out that the warrant cannot be rescinded if it has already been granted. I therefore gently ask the Security Minister whether he will not take the opportunity, in responding to the debate, to give the ISC members and the public we all represent the reassurance that the Secretaries of State who may have this power delegated to them either will already be responsible for warranting, or will have previously had responsibility for warranting. I do not understand why he cannot just get up and give us that final assurance. If he does, I think we will have done extremely well on Report and in Committee. I am rather disappointed that the Minister is not leaping to his feet, since he has been leaping to his feet a lot while my colleagues have been making their speeches. I see no such flicker in him as I am making mine. I suspect and hope that that is because he is just thinking about how he will wind up the debate and give us that final assurance that we need.