Clause 14 - Powers to obtain communications data

Investigatory Powers (Amendment)Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 9:09 pm on 25 March 2024.

Alert me about debates like this

Votes in this debate

Amendments made: 3, page 35, line 5, after “exercise” insert “by a specified public authority”

This amendment and Amendments 4, 5 and 6 restrict the class of public authorities whose powers to secure disclosures of communications data are affected by this Clause.

Amendment 4, page 35, line 17, at end insert—

“(5A) After subsection (5) insert—

“(5A) In this section “specified public authority” means a public authority which is—

(a) listed in Schedule 2A, or

(b) listed in column 1 of the table in Schedule 4.

(5B) The Secretary of State or the Treasury may by regulations modify Schedule 2A by—

(a) adding a public authority to, or

(b) removing a public authority from,

the list in that Schedule.””

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 3.

Amendment 5, page 35, line 35, at end insert—

“(6A) In section 267 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (regulations), in subsection (5), after paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) regulations under section 12(5B),”.”

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 3.

Amendment 6, page 35, line 35, at end insert—

“(6B) In the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, after Schedule 2 insert—

“Schedule 2A

Specified public authorities for the purposes of section 12

1 The Treasury.

2 A local authority.

In this Schedule “local authority” has the same meaning as in Part 3 (see section 86).”” .—(Tom Tugendhat.)

See the explanatory statement for Amendment 3

Third Reading

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 9:10, 25 March 2024

I beg to move, That the Bill be read the Third time.

I pay huge tribute to all the contributions from across this House, and particularly to my hon. Friend Scott Mann, who whipped this through in exemplary fashion and will be delighted that since my appointment he has not had to take a Minister’s place on a Bill. He will also be grateful, along with me, to Lord Sharpe in the other place who has led on this Bill brilliantly, and taken us through with exemplary speed. I thank Dan Jarvis, who has been a great friend for many years. We have now completed a Bill together, which really does bring us that bit closer. I also say an enormous thanks to Phoebe, Fintan, Francesca, James, Emer, Lucy x 2, Megan, Sophie, and Tom Ball, whose exemplary work in the Bill Committee has been fantastic.

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham 9:11, 25 March 2024

It is gratifying that we will get this Bill on the statute book, because it will give our security services the necessary powers to keep us all safe. I add my thanks to the staff of the Committee on which I and other Members served, and like the Minister I thank the civil servants who I have engaged with throughout the passage of the Bill. I also thank my hon. Friend Dan Jarvis for his engagement on the Bill. Sir Julian Lewis would have liked to have been here today. He has played an integral part not just in speaking about the Bill, but in his work on the ISC. As I said earlier, unfortunately he is at the funeral of Lord Cormack; the House will understand his reason.

As I said, the Bill will improve our abilities. Perhaps the Minister would also like to put on record his thanks to the ISC, which he forgot to do. It might have been a painful process at times, but can I give him some advice, possibly for the future? He may well have been able to solve some of these issues earlier in our discussions, and avoided keeping his colleagues here on a Monday night—[Interruption.] The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities says from a sedentary position that that was impossible, but the Minister has agreed to our amendments.

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham

The Minister says that he was going to, but if he had done that last week we could perhaps have had very short discussions tonight.

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham

Well some of us do, but if the amendments had been agreed to last week, we could have had a shorter debate today and the Minister’s colleagues would not have been kept here for so long.

Finally, the biggest thanks we need to give is to the men and women of our security services who, as the Minister said in his earlier contribution, do not get any recognition publicly. They do their work day in, day out, some in very dangerous circumstances, to keep us all safe.

Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Scottish National Party, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East 9:14, 25 March 2024

I, too, thank all colleagues who have taken part in the proceedings today, in Committee stage and before, especially members of the ISC whose expertise really does benefit our scrutiny processes. I also thank all the various organisations that have provided written evidence and briefings, both in support of, and in opposition to, the Bill. Finally, may I also thank the Committee staff and the Clerks of the House for helping us through what has in some ways been quite a technical Bill?

The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 set out a detailed framework for use of investigatory powers. The existence of such a legislative framework was welcome, as were some aspects of the framework itself. We worked hard to try to improve that framework, but, ultimately, believed that it fell short of what was required and so we voted against that Bill on Third Reading. We are in much the same place today. We get the motivations for this Bill; they are understood and we are sympathetic with some of what the Bill seeks to achieve. However, we are not convinced that all the powers are shown to have been necessary and proportionate and that there are not other ways to get to where those seeking the new powers need to be.

At the same time, with more extensive powers and more extensive use of those powers, there should come greater oversight. In our view, the Bill heads us in the opposite direction, watering down or failing to put into place necessary advanced judicial oversight. Such oversight, we believe, is of benefit in providing reassurance not only to members of the public concerned with implications for their private lives, but to the very people who need to navigate these powers—members of our security and intelligence services and other public bodies. Instead, they are left to make difficult almost impossible judgments as to their lawful use, necessity and proportionality. Therefore, we do not take this step lightly, but for those reasons we will be voting against Third Reading tonight.

Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Security) 9:15, 25 March 2024

I rise to confirm that we on these Benches support the Third Reading of this Bill. It is the first duty of every Government to keep their people safe. It is right that we take the opportunity to pay tribute to the exceptional men and women who serve in our police and security services, often in the shadows and often without recognition, working tirelessly to keep our country safe. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. We also owe it to them, as Members of this House, to provide them with the powers they need to discharge their duties. The Bill does that, in part, because it has been the product of constructive cross-party efforts both in this House and in the other place.

I wish to take the opportunity to thank the Minister for his work on the Bill. I wish him well with future endeavours. I also thank the SNP and all those Members who have contributed to this process, particularly those members of the ISC, who have made an outstanding contribution to proceedings.

On behalf of the whole House, I express our thanks to the civil servants working in the Home Office who have done an exceptional job, as have the Clerks of this House, who have worked very hard on what is after all a technical Bill.

It is always welcome when collegiate, cross-party working takes place in this House. I am very grateful that, on this occasion, we have been able to work together on getting this important Bill right.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Division number 116 Investigatory Powers (Amendment) Bill [Lords]: Third Reading

Aye: 254 MPs

No: 38 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

Tellers

No: A-Z by last name

Tellers

The House divided: Ayes 257, Noes 38.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time and passed.