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Home Secretary questioned by MPs and peers on Draft Communications Data Bill

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, will appear before the Joint Committee of MPs and Peers undertaking pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Communications Data Bill, in one of two evidence sessions they will be holding this week.

Ms May will be quizzed by the Committee at 3pm on Wednesday 31 October, and will face questioning on issues including:

  • whether, when drafting the Bill and deciding on the breadth of the new powers, she consulted the communications providers likely to be subject to the new requirements;
  • why the draft Bill is so wide in scope when the Home Office has given verbal assurances that it will be used to address a narrow set of issues;
  • how public confidence in the regulation of surveillance can be improved and whether there is a case for more parliamentary scrutiny on the matter;
  • why she has refused to ask the intelligence and security services  to give evidence to the Committee; and
  • confirming that the Government will not be introducing a Communications Data Bill in this Parliamentary session.

Before this, in two sessions on Tuesday 30 October, the Committee will hear from senior law enforcement officers including the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police.

They will also hear from:

At 3pm:

  • Caspar Bowden, Privacy advocate;
  • Trefor Davies, Chief Technology Officer, Timico Ltd;
  • Dr Gus Hosein, Privacy International; and
  • David Walker, Labelled Security Ltd.

At 4pm:

  • Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police;
  • Detective Superintendent Allan Lyon, Authorising officer for communication data requests within the covert intelligence division of Greater Manchester Police;
  • Peter Davies, Chief Executive, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, (CEOP);
  • Detective Superintendent Steve Higgins, Single Point of Contact (SPOC) Training Centre Leader, National Policing Improvement Agency; and
  • Detective Sergeant David Stevenson, accredited SPOC and SPOC Manager, Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The witnesses will be questioned on issues including:

  • future-proofing the Bill;
  • publically identifying the specific data gaps;
  • the estimated life-saving benefits of the new draft Bill;
  • definitions of communications data; and
  • SPOC-related issues, including budget, training, evidence gathering and strengthening roles.

On Tuesday 30 October, the evidence sessions will begin at approximately 3pm and will take place in Committee Room 4A.

On Wednesday 31 October, the evidence session will begin at approximately 3pm and will take place in Committee Room 3.

The evidence sessions are open to the public and will be webcast live at Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.