Clause 64

Part of Serious Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 5 July 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 10:15, 5 July 2007

I wish to speak briefly in support of the amendment. My right hon. and learned Friend raises an important issue on which I hope the Minister will respond and give some clarification. In particular, he highlighted the issue of whether the disclosure was lawful. I hope that the Minister might be able to give some indication of whether, for example, provisions relating to whistleblowing might be such that they make the disclosure of such information lawful pursuant to provisions in other statutes, and to give us some other background.

Clause 64 talks about protected information. In subsection (5), we discover that the definition of protected information is drawn somewhat widely and can be extended even further inasmuch as in subsection (5)(b) it includes

“any specified information disclosed by a specified public authority.”

That is further defined as meaning

“information specified or described in an order made by the Secretary of State”.

My right hon. and learned Friend makes a valid point about what that is intended to cover. If the Secretary of State can then expand it by order, we need to consider the provision carefully.