Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 20th March 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:30 pm, 20th March 2007

When we adjourned, I was dealing with my amendment to new clause 8 and specifically with the Minister’s reason for thinking it unnecessary for the Information Commissioner to have some kind of oversight of material that should be deleted from the report given to Parliament by the proposed new inspectorate. I was about to say that I found his explanation somewhat unconvincing. It appeared to rely on the fact that rather than have the Information Commissioner exercise some kind of oversight in advance, it would always be possible for him to do so after the publication of the report.

That is simply implausible. By definition, the material that had been kept out by the Home Secretary would, at least on the surface, have been kept out for reasons either of the personal security of individuals or of national security. In that case it is hard to see how in  practice the Information Commissioner would have access to that information, still less that anyone could make a successful freedom of information request that might trigger some activity by the Information Commissioner. I just did not follow why the Minister thought that that would be an effective second line of defence of the ability to scrutinise the material that the Home Secretary thought was unsuitable to be given to Parliament. As with my amendment to new clause 6, I hope to press my amendment to new clause 8 to a vote.