Overview of Act

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 12 April 2016.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs) 9:45, 12 April 2016

I welcome you to the Chair, Ms Dorries and it is a pleasure to serve under your chairwomanship. I would like to make some brief opening remarks on behalf of the Scottish National party in response to the Minister. We acknowledge the attempt to codify and modernise the law, and we think that the attempt is laudable. However, we think that the execution of this attempt is not laudable. We believe that there has been a rush to legislate, and it is not only we who say that. Members will remember that, when evidence was given to the Committee by Jo Cavan, the head of the Interception Commissioner’s Office, she spoke of an aggressive timeline for the Bill. When I asked her to elaborate on that, she said:

“It is a really complicated and significant piece of legislation. Although I broadly support the Bill, because it is a good thing to put a number of the powers used by the intelligence agencies on a clearer statutory footing and to try to improve transparency, I do think that the scrutiny process has been very hurried. That is of concern because there are some significant privacy implications to the clauses in the Bill. There is still a long way to go towards strengthening some of the safeguards. Also, a lot of the operational detail is in the codes of practice. It is really important that those are scrutinised properly, line by line.”––[Official Report, Investigatory Powers Public Bill Committee, 24 March 2016; c. 70.]

She agreed with me that the time afforded for scrutiny of the Bill is inadequate, particularly with regards to the international legal implications of aspects of the Bill.