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Investigatory Powers Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 19th July 2016.

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Photo of Lord Murphy of Torfaen Lord Murphy of Torfaen Labour 6:45 pm, 19th July 2016

My Lords, I do not support the amendment, I fear. I entirely agree with the noble Baroness with regard to the correspondence of Members of Parliament. But the Joint Committee looked at whether Members of Parliament should be under surveillance and it agreed with the recommendations before it; that is, that there should be a double lock at that stage. That is consistent with the whole Bill: it should not only be the Secretary of State who signs a warrant but a judicial commissioner.

During the passage of the Bill in the House of Commons, that was made into a triple lock so that the Prime Minister, who originally was only to be informed of the warrant, now had to approve it as well. That seems to be an extremely wise thing to do. As a Member of Parliament—or a Member of this House or any of the devolved Parliaments and legislatures—who was going to have their communications intercepted, it would be important to know that it went as far as having the Prime Minister, the head of government, involved. Having just a judge doing it goes completely against the spirit of the Bill. The double-lock system is what everybody has said is absolutely the right thing to do. This is now a triple lock and I fear that I cannot support the amendment.