Freedom of Information Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:34 pm on 14th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative 7:34 pm, 14th November 2000

My Lords, I do not feel that this is a technical amendment. The bodies already listed in this part of the Bill--the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Headquarters--are all part of the security services. But in some aspects this tribunal deals with security services. It deals with the police. The noble Lord, Lord Bassam, will remember what the tribunal deals with. It deals with complaints by ordinary members of the public or by companies about the ways in which the powers under the RIP Act are applied. Anything to do with the security services will be caught by the current wording of Clause 22. But a certain amount of business done by the tribunal under the RIP Act has nothing to do with the security services--putting it at its furthest, it is a police matter--but in the way in which the various organs of the Government and state are authorised to act under the RIP Act, it impinges considerably on the general freedom of ordinary citizens.

The amendment has no place whatsoever in the Bill. To the extent that the provision is necessary, it is already covered. To the extent that it is unnecessary, it is iniquitous. The Government should rethink what they seek to do.