Power to modify section 61 and Schedule 4

Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 19 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)

I rise to put on the record a concern about the clause and to remind the Committee that with the wide power of retention, the safeguards on access provisions are critical to the operation of the Bill as a whole. Broadly speaking, the safeguards are: who can authorise access, what the test is, the scope of the conduct authorised and such checks and limits as are otherwise put in the Bill. The clause covers who can authorise access, and my strong feeling is that that should be in the Bill rather than left to regulations, because it is a central safeguard. I will not vote against the clause, but I want to put on the record my view that a provision as important as who can access should be in the Bill and that amendments should be made to legislation rather than through regulation.

Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

I know the hon. and learned Gentleman is probing. He is right that the clause sets out how the Secretary of State may, by regulation, add or remove public bodies listed in schedule 4 and make modifications accordingly, but it also sets out that the Secretary of State does so by means of regulations. He will have noted that in practice that means a statutory instrument, which is subject to the affirmative procedure, as is made clear in clause 63(3).

I understand the hon. and learned Gentleman’s point, which is reasonable, but there are limits on what the Secretary of State can do in the sense that the affirmative procedure must be followed, which will give an opportunity for further consideration. I am happy to confirm that the intention in the Bill and the spirit in which it was constructed are very much along the lines he described.

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

The Committee divided:

Ayes 9, Noes 2.

Division number 14 Christmas Tree Industry — Power to modify section 61 and Schedule 4

Aye: 9 MPs

No: 2 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 62 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 63