Investigatory Powers Bill - Commons Reasons

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Lord Paddick Lord Paddick Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:45 pm, 2nd November 2016

My Lords, I support whole- heartedly what the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, and the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, have said, and will address the comments of the Minister. He talked about a 10-week public consultation on Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 together with Leveson 2 showing government commitment to the issues. My understanding is that Cabinet Office guidelines on consultation say that it should be for a minimum of 12 weeks and should not be over a holiday period, which this only 10-week consultation is. I wonder whether that calls into question the Government’s commitment.

The noble Earl talked about the context of the Bill and its long passage. If the Government are concerned about the sunset clause, which the Bill addresses, why, if the House passes the amendment this afternoon, is no further consideration to be given to it until 15 November—when it could be further considered either this evening or tomorrow, as my noble and learned friend pointed out?

The noble Earl also said that the Bill is not the place to consider this issue. The Public Bill Office clearly disagrees with the Government because, yet again, it has allowed this amendment to the Bill to be considered.

Yes, we must ensure a free press, but that does not mean a press able to do whatever it wants. We need a press that is also accountable, and that is what the amendment is about.