Information gateway

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

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs) 2:45, 28 Ebrill 2016

I beg to move amendment 824, in clause 203, page 158, line 33, at end insert—

‘(1A) A disclosure pursuant to subsection (1) will not constitute a criminal offence for any purposes in this Act or in any other enactment.

(1B) In subsection (1), a disclosure for the purposes of any function of the Commissioner may be made at the initiative of the person making the disclosure and without need for request by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner

We had our old friend economic wellbeing a moment ago, and now we have our old friends whistleblowing and the public interest. Clause 203 is, rather intriguingly, titled “Information gateway” and provides that a disclosure to a commissioner will not violate any duties of confidence or any other restriction on the disclosure of information. This amendment would put it beyond doubt that voluntary, unsolicited disclosures are protected and that a whistle- blower is protected from criminal prosecution.

The amendment reflects a concern, which we have already heard in the Committee, that provisions in the Bill may inadvertently risk discouraging or preventing individuals within public authorities or agencies, or in communication services providers, from approaching the Investigatory Powers Commissioner with concerns or communicating with the commission frankly.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

I am sure the hon. and learned Lady is going to outline her arguments with brevity, but may I assist her? I recognise the sentiment behind the amendment and am of a mind to give them further consideration. On that basis, I invite her to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs)

I am grateful for that. We have had a lot of debate about these issues already, and I am very grateful to the Solicitor General for indicating that he is going to look at them seriously. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 203 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 204