Data Protection Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 14th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice) 6:00 pm, 14th May 2018

With respect, that is not the test. Of course, families in this situation are placed in a very difficult position and we recognise that. I do not know if the noble Lord, Lord Kerslake, had an opportunity in the course of preparing his report to actually interview the senior press officer at Greater Manchester Police, although he will be aware of the view she has expressed with regard to the media’s behaviour, but he did not mention that in his earlier speech to the House. There are diverse views and interpretations of what was happening at the time.

It would be difficult for me to address all of the individual points that have been made in the course of the debate, but what I want to stress is this. While the promise was made by previous a Prime Minister, it was this Government, in implementing their manifesto commitment and following public consultation, who took the steps they did with regard to Leveson 2. Of course, Sir Brian Leveson was consulted for his views on the matter, as was appropriate and proper in accordance with statutory procedures, and they then reached a view. A question was raised as to whether the previous Prime Minister had been expressly consulted on this matter. My understanding is that the previous Prime Minister did approve the manifesto that this party took to the country at the last general election, and therefore I see no reason to doubt his position on this matter.

Let us come more closely to where we are at the present time. What is being proposed is an extensive inquiry into the past when we are addressing a Bill that is determined to look to the future and the regulation of the media in the context of data processing. As the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, observed, very significant steps have been taken by the Government in this Bill to secure the position going forward. That is how we see the matter. In those circumstances, I invite the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, to withdraw her amendment. The time has come for this House to acknowledge that the other place has spoken on this issue. It is one that reflects people’s diverse and passionate interests, but I would suggest that the time has come constitutionally for the amendment to be withdrawn.