Special rules for certain mutual assistance warrants

Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 14 April 2016.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office)

No amendments have been tabled, and I do not oppose the clause, but I have a question that I would like the Solicitor General to deal with now, or at some other convenient point. In any event, I understand that these warrants are not particularly common.

Clause 33(1) makes it clear that the provisions apply predominantly where the subject of interception is outside the United Kingdom, and it effectively allows for sign-off at the senior official level. Notwithstanding that the subject is outside the United Kingdom, do the measures permit interception involving individuals in the UK or the British Isles if they are in communication with the subject? I ask for clarification, because I cannot find an answer myself.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

I am happy to clarify that. The position is that if the Secretary of State or a senior official acting on behalf of the Secretary of State believes that a person, organisation or set of premises named or described in the warrant as the subject of the interception is in the United Kingdom, that person must cancel the warrant. I hope that that answers the question.

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office)

It is probably my fault for not putting the question clearly enough. I accept that in relation to the target, but the warrant will cover others than the target. Can the Minister clarify what protection there is under this procedure for people in this country who, although they are not the target, might come within the warrant?

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

What I am trying to deal with is anybody within the warrant, whether person, premises or organisation. If they are within that, they will be covered and it will have to be cancelled. I hope that that gives the hon. and learned Gentleman some reassurance.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 33 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 34