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Investigatory Powers Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 19th July 2016.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 5:15 pm, 19th July 2016

My Lords, Amendment 156A seeks to prevent the retention of internet connection records. The Committee will not be surprised that the Government cannot support such an amendment. We have been absolutely clear about the need for internet connection records. We addressed that when publishing the operational case for these powers.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester referred to a model of pre-legislative scrutiny. The noble Lord, Lord Carlile, referred to the most scrutinised Bill ever seen. My noble friend Lord King alluded to the three reports we have had, and the noble Lord, Lord Murphy, spoke about the Joint Committee that he had chaired which scrutinised these matters. Over and above that, we had the evidence given to the Public Bill Committee by, for example, the noble Lord, Lord Reid, and Charles Clarke. They were asked whether they thought that ICR were a key part of updating legislation for the current world, and both agreed definitively. I commend the contents of those three reports to the noble Lord, Lord Oates, and also commend to him the findings of the Joint Committee. He asked whether the UK was unique within the “Five Eyes” or indeed the world in seeking to develop these powers. It may well be that we are the forefront of developing them, and a good thing it be. I quote from the report by David Anderson QC:

“Comparing the UK’s legal regime with those of other countries is fraught with danger”.

I commend to the noble Lord, Lord Oates, what follows in that report because David Anderson develops those points and explains them. It is on the record, we have had it for a long time, we have considered it in the development of the Bill and the Joint Committee considered these matters. That is why the Bill is in its present condition.

The noble Lord, Lord Evans, observed that we have the ability to secure effective police investigations in areas where other countries have failed. I mentioned on a previous occasion the comparison between the results in the UK and Germany regarding the investigation and prosecution of cases involving paedophilia. I do not accept that, because we are ahead of others, somehow we are wrong.