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If the noble Lord had been in his place at Second Reading, he would have heard me give exactly that recognition. I recognise entirely the scrutiny and excellent work. I note that it is only because of the actions of people such as the then Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, that we had that scrutiny. I am grateful that we had it and the Bill is much better as a consequence. I welcome it. That does not mean, however, that as a result of that scrutiny we should abandon our Committee proceedings; it does not mean that those of us who have not served on Joint Committees should not be able to ask questions or seek answers. That is certainly what I will continue to do in this matter.
What is being required is an extraordinary power. We must be absolutely clear about that: it is unique. The noble Lord, Lord King, the Minister or any other noble Lord needs to explain—and nobody has, certainly not in all the proceedings so far in this House—why we, uniquely, need this power. The power is one that even such eminent people as my noble friend Lord Carlile—no slouch on counterterrorism measures—have questioned in the past. Indeed on
“I, Lord Reid, Lord West and others of like mind have never favoured the recording of every website visited by every internet user, though we have been accused of that ambition”.
I hope the Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it that is exactly what is proposed: the retention of data on the internet connection records of every internet user in the country. I hope that the Minister will address and answer all the detailed points put by my noble friends Lord Paddick and Lord Strasburger, and tell the House why we, uniquely, need a power required by no other constitutional democracy of a similar type in the world.