Data Protection Bill [HL] - Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 14th May 2018.

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Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 7:00 pm, 14th May 2018

They should have hired a lawyer. The point is that it is a perfectly valid point. We have sought to replicate in the Bill, as far as possible, the existing provisions relating to legal professional privilege. We had several discussions about that in the 1998 Act, including the relevant exemptions to rights and obligations for personal data. I cannot help but notice that the Arbitration and Mediation Service, given that we are trying to replicate as far as possible existing provisions, appears to have been operating without undue burden for the last 20 years, but I am certainly prepared to undertake to the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, that we will look at that with a view to making sure that this is not a serious problem. We certainly have not been able to do it in time. I can confirm to him that, if there is a problem, the Bill contains regulation-making powers to address this concern. The only thing I can say on that is that, quite rightly, those regulations would have to come before both Houses of Parliament. If there is a concern he will be able to address it later.

The noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, is quite correct that we talked about me making a statement or addressing concerns about the individual application of the GDPR and the Bill to Peers. I assumed I would do so if it was necessary and if the subject came up, which, luckily, it has not. Just to be clear, it is not just that Peers and other citizens of this country are suffering under the GDPR, although they might have obligations that they were not aware of before and, I agree, certain extra ones because the GDPR has direct effect; it also greatly increases individual subject rights. It makes sure that individuals’ personal data, in particular sensitive personal data, is better protected in law and by a regulator, who, thanks to your Lordships’ agreement, has real power to make sure that the data regime is obeyed. I believe that the House authorities have issued a statement to all Peers. Of course, my department is there to address this. The first avenue that Peers should use for the individual circumstances is the House authorities.