Annual and other reports

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:45 pm ar 28 Ebrill 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

I am quite sympathetic to the amendment. This is one of those discussions in Committee that boils down to—I have used the phrase “boils down to” once, so for the sake of Hansard, I will change it, because I do not like to repeat myself. This discussion can be reduced to—boiling has the effect of reducing, as all those who are cooks will know—a debate about what it is in the codes and what is in the Bill. As the hon. and learned Gentleman rightly says, the Joint Committee looked at this. I have its recommendation before me. He is right to say that the Committee wanted more information about the records kept in this regard.

In essence, as the hon. and learned Gentleman generously suggested, the Government have responded by publishing the draft codes of practice, which address these matters. The amendment would put these matters in the Bill. My argument for rejecting the amendment is that it is adequate for them to be in the codes. We are back to the debate of what we put in the Bill and what we put in supplementary material.

I am not unsympathetic to the amendment. I have no doubt that the hon. and learned Gentleman will want to continue this discussion. I am not sure I want to vote in favour of the amendment today, but in the spirit that I have tried to adopt throughout the consideration of this part of the Bill, I reassure him that the Government remain open-minded to how we get this right.

This is new territory, but not in the sense that there has not previously been oversight. Rather, the reforms to oversight made by the Bill are of some significance. We are in the business, as a Committee and as a Parliament, of considering exactly how to construct that oversight in an effective way. On that basis, I am prepared to listen to argument. I will not accept the amendment, but I am open to further consideration. I hope, given the tone and content of what I said, that the hon. and learned Gentleman will see fit to withdraw his amendment.