Protection of Freedoms Bill

24 April 2012

The Protection of Freedoms Bill returns to the House of Lords today (Tuesday 24 April) for consideration of amendments made by the House of Commons

The bill returns to the Lords after consideration of Lords' amendments by the Commons on Monday 19 March. Lords amendments 16 to 18 were disagreed to by the Commons. Lords amendments 51 and 133 were amended by the Commons. All other Lords amendments were agreed.

Lords amendments suggested so far, on the consideration of Commons reason and amendments, include further clarification by Lord Marlesford on amendments 16 to18 to Clause 40 covering additional safeguards to powers of entry.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon has suggested changes to amendments 51c and 51e for a new clause to be added before Clause 107 in miscellaneous repeals of enactments.

What is 'ping pong'?

If the Commons makes amendments to the bill, the Lords must consider them and either agree or disagree to the amendments or make alternative proposals.

If the Lords disagrees with any Commons amendments, or makes alternative proposals, then the bill is sent back to the Commons.

A bill may go back and forth between each House (ping pong) until both Houses reach agreement.

What happens if the Houses don't agree with each other's amendments?

In exceptional cases, when the two Houses do not reach agreement, the bill falls. If certain conditions are met, the Commons can use the Parliament Acts to pass the bill, without the consent of the Lords, in the following session.

Protection of Freedoms Bill: Key areas

  • Brings in a new framework for police retention of fingerprints and DNA data, and requires schools to get parents’ consent before processing children’s biometric information.
  • Introduces a code of practice for surveillance camera systems and provides for judicial approval of certain surveillance activities by local authorities.
  • Provides for a code of practice to cover officials’ powers of entry, with these powers being subject to review and repeal.
  • Outlaws wheel-clamping on private land.
  • Introduces a new regime for police stops and searches under the Terrorism Act 2000 and reduces the maximum pre-charge detention period under that Act from 28 to 14 days.
  • Restricts the scope of the 'vetting and barring' scheme for protecting vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks.
  • Enables those with convictions for consensual sexual relations between men aged 16 or over (which have since been decriminalised) to apply to have them disregarded.
  • Extends Freedom of Information rights by requiring datasets to be available in a re-usable format.
  • Repeals provisions (never brought into force) which would have allowed trial without a jury in complex fraud cases.
  • Removes time restrictions on when marriage or civil partnership ceremonies may take place.

Catch up on the Protection of Freedoms Bill

Lords considers Commons reasons and amendments on Tuesday 23 April.

Attending parliamentary debates and meetings

Find out more about watching House of Lords debates.

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