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, before the noble and learned Lord sits down, it is my understanding and my memory-- though I confess to not having refreshed it adequately, having only just noticed this amendment--that the RIP Act does not deal just with the security services and this tribunal does not deal just with the security services. It also has dealings with the police and with the Commissioners of the Customs and Excise. Indeed, any police force can be brought before this tribunal, and I hope that between now and Third Reading the noble and learned Lord will undertake to review what he has said to see whether he does not agree that, although he is right in saying that this tribunal will perform some of the functions of other tribunals which will cease to exist after the passage of the RIP rules, it will do additional things which have nothing to do with the security services and which do not deserve the sort of blanket exclusion which is offered by this clause and which indeed ought to be open to proper public scrutiny.

Would the noble and learned Lord not agree that it would be better if the general provisions of this clause were relied on to protect the national security rather than being extended to something which, as my noble friend Lord Mackay has said, is a sensitive and difficult part of the law when it comes to the protection of individual rights? I do not want to press for another Division now just to demonstrate concern over this. I will be content with a promise that the matter will be looked at again before Third Reading.