§ Lords amendment: No. 5, in page 7, line 47, after "servant" insert "or government contractor"
§ Mr. John Patten
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.
This is a drafting amendment which simply makes it clear that the obligations under clause 8(1), in respect of the handling of documents in his possession are exactly the same for a Government contractor, who has been notified under clause 1(6), as they are for any other Government contractor.
§ Mr. Teddy Taylor
May I ask the Minister a brief question? He has been very helpful and courteous in his answers. How do police fit in if they are used by Government Departments? We know what a Crown servant is, but would someone who was employed by the 150 Metropolitan police or the local authority police and used for this purpose, be a Government contractor or a Crown servant? Is the serious drugs squad, which is apparently directly employed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for particular purposes, a Government contractor? The Minister will appreciate that this is an important and serious matter, particularly as the serious fraud squad has the special ability, due to the length of its deliberations, to stop matters coming before the general public. What is its position when it is directly employed by, for example, someone directly employed by a Government Department? Will it be affected?
§ Mr. Patten
When my hon. Friend used the term "local authority police" early in his remarks, did he mean police employed by local police authorities, rather than by local authorities?
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Lords amendment: No. 6, in page 8, line 18, after "any" insert "official"
§ Mr. Patten
The amendments relate to the offence in clause 8(6) of giving unauthorised access to protected information. The amendments are aimed directly to meet the points made in another place; they are intended to apply the offence only to someone who knows that he was disclosing official information, and to clarify the presentation of the offence. I was glad that the Opposition spokesman in another place said that the amendments were acceptable to the Opposition and had his consent and approval.
Question put and agreed to.
Lords amendments Nos. 7 to 9 agreed to.