HC Deb 08 May 2000 vol 349 cc600-18
Mr. Maclean

I beg to move amendment No. 59, in page 31, line 39, leave out subsection (4) and insert— '(4) In subsection (1) "relevant public authority" means any of the organisations listed in Schedule (Relevant public authorities) (4A) The Secretary of State may by order add any other public authority to Schedule (Relevant public authorities).

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government amendments Nos. 40, 41, 65 and 45.

Amendment No. 5, in page 47, line 11, leave out Clause 44.

Government amendments Nos. 46 to 48 and 44. New schedule 2—Public Authorities Designated for the Purposes of Sections 27 and 28

Public Authority Directed Surveillance Use of Covert Sources
Security Service
Intelligence Services (Secret Intelligence Service, GCHQ)
Ministry of Defence/Armed Forces
Home Office: Prison Service
Immigration Service
Department of Social Security: Benefits Agency
Inland Revenue
Department of Health: Medical Devices Agency
Food Standards Agency
Medicine Control Agency
High Security Hospitals
NHS Estates
NHS Fraud
Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Department of Trade and Industry: Radio Communications Agency
Export Services Directorate
Post Office
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: Transport Security (Transec)
Vehicle Inspectorate
Mr. Maclean

Amendment No. 59 attempts to put straightforward honesty and openness into clause 29, and to comply with the normal parliamentary conventions.

We had an interesting morning in Committee when we considered clause 29, which deals with persons entitled to grant authorisations under sections 27 and 28—the sections covering directed surveillance and covert surveillance. We were innocuously going through the clause, and when we reached the part that stated that the people with the power would belong to "relevant public authorities", we saw which public authorities were listed.

There were the big boys—the heavy players that we would expect to have powers of directed surveillance and covert surveillance. They are the same as those with which we had dealt earlier, which also have the power of intrusive surveillance—police forces, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Crime Squad, the various intelligence agencies, the Ministry of Defence, any of Her Majesty's forces and, of course, the VAT man, the commissioners of Customs and Excise.

The clause went on to add: any such public authority not falling within paragraphs (a) to (g) as may be specified for the purposes of this section by an order made by the Secretary of State. All my hon. Friends and I—and, I think, almost everyone in the Committee Room—assumed that the wording of that subsection, referring to any other public authority, was designed so that if the Secretary of State had missed out one little authority in the foregoing list, or if NCIS had changed its name, or the National Crime Squad had amalgamated with NCIS, as may be on the cards, or there were some other changes, he could use that order-making power to redesignate one of the big criminal investigation agencies listed in the Bill. That is the normal purpose that we expected, and the normal procedure in legislation.

Perhaps by a little accident, more information began to be revealed. I asked the Minister to reassure me that the sandwich police at the Department of Health would not have those powers. We were all rather amazed when the Minister briefly said that the sandwich police at the Department of Health would indeed have powers of directed surveillance and the use of covert sources.

It was a Thursday morning, and you will know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, how bad Thursday mornings are for maximum performance. However, at that point many of us began to wake up and realise that there might be more to the apparently innocuous little clause than met the eye.

We asked the Minister to reassure us that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food vets, and the inspectors who count my farmers' sheep, would not be included under the same clause as the National Criminal Intelligence Service, MI5, MI6 and the big boys. The Minister was forced to tell us that MAFF inspectors were included. We had a long debate in Committee as we tried to tease out what was going on in subsection (4)(h).

There seems to be a breach of normal parliamentary convention. It is acceptable for the Government to include an order-making power in the Bill if the Secretary of State has not decided what the orders will be, or if he knows that he will have to make an order at some future date, but the subject is not yet certain. However, the Government know exactly what they want to cover. The Minister, in his usual courteous and helpful way, followed up the debate in Committee with a letter.

New schedule 2 contains the substance of the letter. At the beginning of it, the Minister mentioned the organisations listed in the clause, including the National Crime Squad, the intelligence services and so on. He mentioned two other Home Office agencies—the Prison Service and the immigration service. He also listed the Department of Social Security, the Inland Revenue and seven different organisations in the Department of Health that required powers of directed surveillance. The latter included one organisation—the welfare foods section—that I omitted from new schedule 2 because it does not need such powers. I should like to hear the Minister's justification for its inclusion.

The list also includes the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, three organisations in the Department of Trade and Industry, three organisations in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and nine organisations in MAFF. We can understand the need to include the Meat Hygiene Service. I used to run the Pesticides Safety Directorate; I therefore understand the reasons for its inclusion. However, my list omits the egg inspectorate. Irrespective of the powers that MAFF, in its wisdom, believes that it needs, the egg inspectorate should not be listed in the same clause as MI5, MI6 and the National Criminal Intelligence Service. I am sure that Edwina Currie would have reached the same conclusion.

Other organisations in MAFF, too, have the power of directed surveillance, and want the Secretary of State to make an order. The Intervention Board for agricultural produce wants that power. The Health and Safety Executive, the Serious Fraud Office, the Financial Services Authority, and various local authorities as defined in the Local Government Act 1999, are also on the Minister's list.

Thirty-two other agencies of Departments want to be included in subsection (4)(h). The clause currently includes the big boys—that is the best collective name for the police force, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the security services. As soon as we pass the clause that lists them, the Secretary of State will place an order before the House that lists 32 other agencies of Departments, which want the same power as the six big boys.

Why play the game of listing some organisations in the Bill and including the others through order-making procedures? The Government know which organisations they are. The Government claim that they already use the powers for which the clause provides. I accept that the egg inspectorate does not wish to take new, draconian powers. It apparently already has the power to undertake directed surveillance. I was never in charge of the egg inspectorate, so I never used those powers. I used others, but not those.

I appreciate that some of those departments need such powers. They can all probably make a valid argument for having them; it is legitimate to exercise the powers for directed and covert surveillance involving the lion mark for eggs, meat hygiene and all the other valid subjects. I could easily deal with the funny ones, but many important matters are involved, such as serious fraud, veterinary and human medicines and so on. It is legitimate to exercise those powers now and it was apparently legitimate to have them under previous Governments, so let us not be too embarrassed about including them in a schedule.

We should not pretend that under clause 29, only important state agencies such as the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Crime Squad, the police, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ will be given the power to undertake directed and covert surveillance. The Government should have the guts to say that in addition, there are good reasons why other organisations, including the Department of Social Security, the NHS fraud office, NHS Estates, Rampton and Broadmoor high security hospitals, the Radiocommunications Agency, the coal health claims unit, the Environment Agency and the Vehicle Inspectorate should have those powers.

The Government intend to list those bodies. They and the Minister, very decently, have published the list, so let us put it in a schedule and make a clean breast of it. My amendment, which may not be perfectly technically correct, states that the Home Secretary may add more bodies or another Department that is discovered to need such powers. I pay tribute to the Minister for writing to all Departments and trying to winkle them out. They have all been using those powers since the year dot—the coal health claims unit since the last century but one, no doubt. He has tried to pull them together into a comprehensive whole, and has winkled out from them the powers that they have and those that they think they must continue to have.

It would be helpful if those bodies were included in a schedule, together with a power to add others as and when the Home Secretary concludes that another inspectorate of the department of little widgets and big sausages requires such powers as well. There would be no harm in that, as that is how we normally do things in this place. If the Government have a list of organisations that require a certain power, we usually include them in a schedule. We do not want to put them in a clause, as that would require changes to be made should the Home Secretary need to add other bodies.

We know, and the Government know, what they will do the second the Bill is passed. Let us be absolutely honest and up-front. One can mock the egg inspectorate of MAFF. No doubt next week I shall receive a briefing note stating why it must have such draconian powers to inspect our sunny-side-ups. Although it is legitimate to have the powers, if the Minister defends them at the Dispatch Box, as I hope he will, let him say that they will be included in a schedule, both so that everyone can see what they are and why bodies have them, and so that they can be amended easily if necessary.

Mr. Heald

I support my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean), who put his case with his customary lucidity and succinctness, by saying that the Minister must answer.

Mr. Simon Hughes

The right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean) does the House a service by referring to an issue with which we have dealt three times this year in Home Office legislation. A similar matter arose when we considered the Freedom of Information Bill, which ended up including pages of organisations because someone believed that it was important to set out who was governed by the provisions. When the Race Relations (Amendment) Bill was considered in Committee, the Government were persuaded to include a general duty to promote good race relations, although they decided that it would be useful to include a schedule of public authorities that would be governed by it. The right hon. Gentleman makes the case very well as to which authorities, at least at the starting point of the legislation, are to be governed by the provisions. They know, we know and everyone else knows who they are, but the Government must justify putting them on the list, and if they are embarrassed perhaps that is a reason for particular organisations' being removed from the list. I hope that the Government will respond positively on that.

9.45 pm

Government amendments Nos. 46 and 47 are a partial answer to our amendment No. 5, which is to bring to the House's attention the need to get rid of what could reasonably be called a Henry VIII clause—the catch-all provision allowing Ministers to do pretty well anything under part II.

Earlier I owned up to the fact that, having not been on the Committee, I had not followed all the twists and turns of the debate. Part II sets out different procedures for directed surveillance, intrusive surveillance and covert human intelligence. The purpose of the Bill is rightfully to bring new forms of surveillance under the Human Rights Act 1998 and legislation before Parliament.

Clause 44 allows the Secretary of State by order to shift the rules that apply to directed surveillance and suddenly to apply them to intrusive surveillance. Rules that at one moment apply to surveillance that is not defined as directive or intrusive will be applied to surveillance that is so defined.

My understanding from people who know about these matters is that the boundaries are shifting, and it is illogical to believe that it is right in legislation tightly to categorise directed or covert surveillance. A person who taps in to someone's online bank account may be involved both in covert surveillance and, in almost the same exercise, in intrusive surveillance. It may be better to be honest and say that the categories are wrong. It may be that having different rules and procedures for different types of surveillance covered by part II is an over-prescriptive approach.

We are grateful for Government amendments Nos. 46 and 47, which take out clause 44(1)(c) and thus reduce the number of alternatives to three. In our view, it would be far better to remove clause 44 altogether. Even better than that, we should think again about how we subdivide the different forms of surveillance in part II. Surveillance must be included—we are not arguing against that proposition—but technology will make the boundaries much less rigid, so we are taking the wrong approach.

The issue from the citizen's point of view is not the form of the communication that is being watched, but the fact that they are the subject of that intrusion into their privacy. A more citizen-centred definition and approach in the legislation that took account of circumstances in which the citizen's rights to privacy could be infracted might be better than approaching the law by type of intrusion. I hope that the Minister can be positive on the general case, as well as on the specific amendment to clause 44.

Mr. Charles Clarke

I commend the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean) for the entertaining and powerful way in which he put his case, as he did in Committee, although I did not concede the existence of the sandwich police in the royal parks. He put his case wittily and effectively.

I think that the right hon. Gentleman acknowledges that we have been open about the public authorities that are likely to use these powers. We are not trying to hide the details; indeed, we believe that there has been a great benefit in publicly identifying the public authorities that use covert investigative techniques and ensuring that their use is properly regulated and controlled, with the same standards applied across the different authorities.

Let me remind the House of the two key purposes of this part of the Bill. We acknowledge that we are simply considering the powers that currently exist—the right hon. Gentleman was kind enough to acknowledge that, too. It is for other legislation, and for other consideration, to determine whether the powers should or should not exist for each of the agencies, and there is an argument to be had in relation to any of them, whether they involve eggs, ice cream or anything else. Where they exist, however, the purpose of the Bill is to ensure that they are covered and are compatible with the European convention on human rights. In the Bill, we are taking a step to bring into the public arena what was not in it previously, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give us credit for that.

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I am not unsympathetic to the idea of a schedule, although—as he acknowledged—the proposed schedule is defective, because it does not include all the public authorities that have to date indicated their wish to continue their use of these techniques. The right hon. Gentleman explained why he had removed some of them. I was not aware that he had such an antipathy to Edwina Currie, but I am interested to discover yet another split within the Conservative party.

Although I will give further consideration to naming the public authorities in a schedule, I am not in a position to do so now, because—this is within the parliamentary convention referred to by the right hon. Gentleman—we are currently discussing with our colleagues in Scotland which functions of the named authorities are reserved and which are devolved. Depending on the outcome of those discussions, the use of the powers by some authorities in Scotland may need to be covered by a Bill to be introduced shortly in the Scottish Parliament. That would affect the shape and content of any schedule or order provided for in this Bill.

I will, however, give the right hon. Gentleman a commitment now. We are seeking agreement with the Scots over the period of the Bill's passage in order to publish a schedule of the type that the right hon. Gentleman wants, because we think that the reasons he has given are powerful. I cannot promise him that we will secure agreement with the Scottish Parliament in time, but we positively seek to do so, both in order to resolve matters and in order to provide information in the form that he recommends. It is not an easy process, and I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for being generous enough to acknowledge the work that has gone on in my Department—a Department with which he is familiar—to secure an understanding throughout Whitehall of what is happening, and the progress that is being made. Although, as I say, the process is not easy, it has already brought a lot of information into the public arena—but we are committed to bringing yet more into that arena. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will consider withdrawing his amendment on the basis of my assurance.

None of us knows how the courts will respond to challenges made under the Human Rights Act after October. After lengthy consideration and discussions with the police and others, we have come up with definitions of surveillance that we believe will satisfy the requirements of the convention, but, as was said earlier, it remains the case that the courts may decide that we have got the balance wrong. Clause 44 will allow us to make certain changes to the provisions, with Parliament's agreement, if we have got it wrong. It will, for example, enable something that we currently consider to be directed surveillance to be treated as intrusive surveillance; or, if we need to take account of future technological advances, it will enable us to provide that part II can apply to an activity that is currently not mentioned.

However, we noted the concerns raised in Committee, and therefore agreed to remove the provision allowing redesignation to take place. The clause will now only allow for a strengthening of the provisions, so that activities not currently covered can be covered, and directed surveillance can be redesignated intrusive surveillance. I hope that Members will agree that our amendments strengthen the existing provisions, and will not press amendment No. 5 to a Division.

Amendments Nos. 40, 41 and 44 would allow the necessary orders and rules to be made by the Secretary of State. Clause 39 provides the Secretary of State with an order-making power to allow public authorities not currently named to apply for an authorisation. It seems right that we should make that change, which is proposed in amendments Nos. 45 and 48.

Mr. Maclean

I am grateful to the Minister for his customarily courteous speech, and for acknowledging that there is some merit in the amendment and new schedule. Although it was easy to make fun of the egg inspectorate of MAFF, I was concerned that the Minister might conclude that the substance of my remarks was just a yolk, so to speak. It was not. I was going to say that, if the hon. Gentleman could not accept the new schedule tonight, by the time the Bill went to the other place, their lordships might conclude that clause 29 was rather a scrambled mess, might be more hard boiled than we are in this place and might insist that something be done—although I think that I should desist from that line of argument.

I am grateful to the Minister for acknowledging that he is willing in principle to go down the route on to which I have tried to force him. I appreciate the difficulty that he is in. I know how difficult it is to deal with the Scots. He has my complete sympathy in that regard. I only hope that, by the time the Bill gets to the other place, progress will have been made in sensitive discussions with the Scots and the Scottish Parliament, so that he is able to set the provision out in schedule form. Otherwise, I suspect that their lordships will wish to force his hand and do that in any case, although I am grateful for his comments. I therefore have no hesitation in saying that I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Remaining Government amendments agreed to.

Order for Third Reading read.

Madam Speaker

I have selected the amendment in the name of the Leader of the Opposition.

9.59 pm
Mr. Charles Clarke

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 15 (Exempted business), That, at this day's sitting, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Betts.] Question agreed to.

Question again proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Mr. Clarke

The Bill is a major advance for the United Kingdom's legislative system. It advances coverage of the European convention on human rights to a range of activities conducted by the state. It is important to ensure that we are able to update our actions in relation both to human rights and to technological processes. The Bill gives citizens rights that they have never had before in relation to surveillance by the state. It gives me great pleasure to move Third Reading, to which I hope that the House will agree.

10.1 pm

Mr. Heald

I beg to move, That this House, whilst agreeing with the Government's intention to provide and regulate investigatory powers, declines to give a Third Reading to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill, because it fails to give crimefighters the powers they need, imposes unspecified and potentially costly burdens on Internet service providers without adequate protection against over-regulation and creates an offence repugnant to justice. At the outset, on Second Reading, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) made it clear that the Opposition were concerned about many of the Bill's aspects, but agreed with the principle that crime fighters should have the powers that they need to investigate crime. Concessions have been made on the Bill, but they are not good enough. That is why we have tabled our reasoned amendment.

The concessions are not good enough because the powers that the Bill makes available to the crime-fighting authorities are inadequate; the Benefits Agency will not be able to intercept in serious cases of benefit fraud, the penalty provided in clause 49, when there is a failure to provide a key needed to decode information, is only two years, whereas it should be 10; and the Government's failure to agree in Committee with our proposal for a power of search, as requested by the National Criminal Intelligence Service, has ensured that the powers being made available are inadequate.

The Bill provides for over-regulation, but not for adequate protections. Industry is saying that, if it is to be required to have an intercept capability that it agrees with, there should be clarity about what is proposed. Individual companies should have a right of independent scrutiny of such a proposal. We have therefore suggested a technical approval board, a right of appeal, a review and many other measures that would give confidence to the internet service provider industry. All those issues affect confidence.

As we have heard in our debates today, internet service provider companies are already tip-toeing offshore to avoid those liabilities. There is uncertainty about the possible bill of more than £30 million for the provision. Additionally, the role of consumers has been ignored. They believe that they own the internet, and they want the confidence of knowing that the internet will not be over-regulated and that their every conversation will not be overheard.

The offence provided in clause 49 has been described by an eminent barrister as a "repugnant" offence, which requires a person to prove his innocence and carries a penalty of two years' imprisonment. We say that any penalty is wrong if an offence is unjust—if it breaches the golden thread of justice that means that a person is innocent until proven guilty. In the United Kingdom, one should not have to prove one's innocence. That long-standing principle has served this country well for hundreds of years, and it should be upheld.

The Bill is improved—it is getting better—but it is not good enough. It is not good enough for the authorities who are desperately trying to fight against crime, drug traffickers, paedophiles and money launderers. It is not good enough for the businesses in the new economy that are afraid of over-regulation. It is not good enough for the ordinary citizen, who may be faced with having to prove his or her innocence—something that an Englishman or woman should not have to do.

10.4 pm

Mr. Cohen

I shall not detain the House too long. I congratulate the two Ministers on the courteous way in which they have presented the Bill and on the carefully argued case that they have made in the House and in Committee. However, I still think that the Bill raises some concerns.

Last month, the Government announced that £22 billion had been raised from sale of the next generation of mobile communications licences. Part I, chapter II permits every one of those new-style connections—internet as well as mobile phone—to be monitored by 1,000 or so self-authorising officials.

The Government have said that they want an often illiterate generation, produced by the previous Government's policies, to become the e-literate generation, adept at using the internet. Under the Bill, details of every website visited can be collected by hundreds of diverse bodies, including 400-plus local authorities and 50 police forces. They can use the powers under chapter II and have two authorising officers each.

Of course, the police and MI5 face challenges and the Bill rightly helps them, but I am not sure that it is appropriate to put on the same level bodies such as the egg inspectorate, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society or NHS Estates. The Bill is too widely cast. It is not far short of outrageous that officials can authorise themselves to obtain communications data, without an effective check on the exercise of such powers.

The Government appointed a Data Protection Commissioner to protect privacy. In this important area, the Bill gives the commissioner no explicit role. She is not even a relevant commissioner. Her briefing on the Bill was scathing, effectively saying that the Government were taking too casual an approach to the protection of individual privacy.

An article in The New York Times only last week pointed out that the United States was moving towards much stronger protection of personal data. It said: President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore have detected the growing political appeal of personal privacy in a time of data rape. It said that Clinton planned to get on with legislation to stem the tide of snooping. The Bill has lost an opportunity to do that, and it should be stronger on the protection of individual privacy, to balance the overall emphasis on helping MI5. There is to be a code of practice in association with the Bill. The balance must be restored by making that code a strong one.

10.8 pm

Mr. Simon Hughes

The Bill first came to us on Second Reading just two months ago, and the House registered then how important it was. The Liberal Democrats took the view that, although it had some defects, it was necessary to ensure that if, with the development of technology, communication was intercepted or data about communication were collected, that should be covered by the law. That remains our view.

Many of the large number of Government amendments showed that the Government have listened and moved. In many cases, they listened to my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) and my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. Allan), who cannot be here tonight, but to whom I pay tribute. Many of their arguments, and those of the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) and his colleagues, have been accepted. We welcome the improvements, and the Bill is unarguably better than it was following Second Reading.

I pay tribute to those outside the House who have helped: Justice, Liberty, and especially Mr. Caspar Bowden from the Foundation for Information Policy Research.

We must decide whether the concerns of constituents and business people have been sufficiently accommodated so that we can accept the Bill. The Conservative party suggests that the Bill has such defects that we should refuse to give it a Third Reading. We do not agree. The Conservatives give three reasons. First, they say that the Bill does not give crime fighters the powers that they need, but the Bill in fact contains adequate powers. The Conservatives tabled new clause 1 and we tabled new clause 7, as alternatives to part III, but the Conservatives' proposal of a 10-year prison sentence option across the board was wrong and their additional powers were therefore inappropriate.

Secondly, the Conservatives argue that the Bill imposes unspecified and potentially costly burdens on Internet service providers. However, we believe that an accommodation can be reached. We have not yet received full assurance on the point, but we have received some assurance that costs will be met. We hope that the Government will go further in the other place. Thirdly, the Conservatives argue that the Bill creates an offence repugnant to justice. We share their view that the reversal of the burden of proof in clauses 46 to 49 is wrong. However, it was noticeable that, when the same provision was before the House on Third Reading of the Terrorism Bill, the Conservative party did not make the same objection. If it thinks that the reversal of the burden of proof is wrong, it must argue that consistently and not be selective.

We are consoled by two thoughts as we support Third Reading. First, the other place will seek to amend it, and we may have to rely on the issue of the burden of proof being corrected there. The House of Lords may again have to come to the rescue of the defendant against the state. Secondly, from 2 October, the European convention on human rights will be part of our law. It is unfortunate that the Government are leaving the parts of the Bill that we think go too far to be struck down under the convention and it would be better if the Bill were right without having to be challenged in the courts. However, if the Bill goes beyond the powers that the state should have, the courts will find in favour of the citizen.

The Bill is necessary. It is not perfect yet, but it is improved. We hope that the Lords will take the signals from this place and correct the one remaining significant objection—to part III—that we still have to the Bill.

10.13 pm
Mr. Charles Clarke

I begin by paying tribute to those who participated in tonight's debate and in Committee, to the Clerks and everybody who serviced the Committee during the course of the Bill, to my officials, and to the wide range of organisations that commented constructively on the Bill. It is important to acknowledge, as everybody concerned has done, that we have had a wide and open debate. That is in the best traditions of the House.

I understand the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton and Wanstead (Mr. Cohen), but they have previously been debated. His point about the need for a strong code of practice is taken, and I hope that he feels that the points that he raises have been given a full airing, both in Committee and on Report.

I appreciate the way in which the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) and his colleagues have contributed to the debate. I am delighted that they have decided to support Third Reading, and I think that they have made the right decision. They have paid close attention to various specifics in the Bill and we have tried to respond to the serious way in which their comments were put by the hon. Gentleman's colleagues in Committee. I appreciate that the hon. Gentleman is responding to us tonight by saying that we can work to improve the Bill together, because that is the right approach to enable us to extend human rights more generally.

I was, however, surprised and even shocked that the Opposition decided to table the reasoned amendment. I shall deal with the three specific points that it raises, but in reverse order.

The amendment states that the Bill creates an offence that is "repugnant to justice". A week or so ago, I met the barrister on whose opinion that element of the amendment was based, and I discussed in detail with him the matters involved. The word "repugnant" appears to have been taken from the divisional court judgment in the Kebilene case, which then went to the House of Lords.

However, when the House of Lords considered the case, it did not find the offence to be repugnant. Lord Hope said: A sound judgment as to whether the burden which he has to discharge is an unreasonable one is unlikely to he possible until the facts are known. The Lords did not accept that the offence was repugnant, and to suggest otherwise is both offensive and wrong.

The second contention in the amendment is that the Bill imposes unspecified and potentially costly burdens on Internet service providers The hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) should concede that the Government have given a great deal of information about the costs involved. Substantial discussions have been held with the industry. We acknowledge that the industry has genuine concerns, which we have debated fully. We have been detailed about the costs involved, and we have set out the position very clearly.

The amendment claims that the Bill fails to give crime fighters the powers that they need. The hon. Gentleman spoke about the need to deal with paedophiles, drug dealers, cyber crime and fraud. For that, we need the powers in the Bill, and they must be properly established and subject to the European convention on human rights.

The reasoned amendment would deprive the Bill of the Third Reading that it needs. As a result, when the ECHR comes into force on 2 October, many of the strategies used by law enforcement agencies to prosecute international paedophiles, drug rings, cyber crime gangs and fraudulent organisations will have to be suspended because no legal framework in which they can operate will exist.

I believe that the hon. Gentleman and the Conservative party will regret opposing Third Reading. As the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) correctly said on Second Reading, the Bill is needed to ensure that law enforcement has the powers necessary to fight international crime and to ensure that our citizens are properly protected.

That is why I am shocked that the Opposition should have decided to oppose Third Reading. I believe that they will come to regret it, and I urge the House to turn their amendment down.

10.18 pm
Mr. Heald

The powers in the Bill are inadequate, and will overburden business and industry. The Bill is unsatisfactory and not good enough, and we intend to push the amendment to a Division.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 139, Noes 330.

Division No. 183] [10.17 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey) Flight, Howard
Amess, David Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Fox, Dr Liam
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Fraser, Christopher
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Garnier, Edward
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Gibb, Nick
Baldry, Tony Gill, Christopher
Bell, Martin (Tatton) Gray, James
Bercow, John Green, Damian
Beresford, Sir Paul Greenway, John
Blunt, Crispin Gummer, Rt Hon John
Boswell, Tim Hague, Rt Hon William
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia Hammond, Philip
Brady, Graham Hawkins, Nick
Brazier, Julian Heald, Oliver
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Browning, Mrs Angela Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Burns, Simon Hunter, Andrew
Butterfill, John Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Cash, William Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet) Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson Smith, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James Key, Robert
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh) Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Lansley, Andrew
Collins, Tim Leigh, Edward
Cormack, Sir Patrick Letwin, Oliver
Cran, James Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S) Lidington, David
Davies, Quentin (Grantham) Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice) Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Day, Stephen Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Duncan Smith, Iain MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter McIntosh, Miss Anne
Evans, Nigel MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Faber, David Maclean, Rt Hon David
Fabricant, Michael McLoughlin, Patrick
Fallon, Michael Madel, Sir David
Major, Rt Hon John Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Malins, Humfrey Steen, Anthony
Maples, John Streeter, Gary
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Swayne, Desmond
May, Mrs Theresa Syms, Robert
Moss, Malcolm Tapsell, Sir Peter
Nicholls, Patrick Taylor, Ian (Esher &Walton)
Norman, Archie Taylor, Rt Hon John D (Strangford)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Ottaway, Richard Taylor, Sir Teddy
Page, Richard Townend, John
Paice, James Tredinnick, David
Paterson, Owen Trend, Michael
Pickles, Eric Tyrie, Andrew
Prior, David Viggers, Peter
Randall, John Waterson, Nigel
Redwood, Rt Hon John Wells, Bowen
Robathan, Andrew Whitney, Sir Raymond
Robertson, Laurence Whittingdale, John
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Ross, William (E Lond'y) Wilkinson, John
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham) Willetts, David
Ruffley, David Wilshire, David
St Aubyn, Nick Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Sayeed, Jonathan Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk) Tellers for the Ayes:
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S) Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
Spicer, Sir Michael and
Spring, Richard Mr. Peter Luff.
Abbott, Ms Diane Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Ainger, Nick Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Caplin, Ivor
Allen, Graham Cawsey, Ian
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E) Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Chaytor, David
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Chidgey, David
Ashton, Joe
Atherton, Ms Candy Clapham, Michael
Atkins, Charlotte Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Austin, John Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Banks, Tony Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Barnes, Harry Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Battle, John Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Bayley, Hugh Clelland, David
Beard, Nigel Clwyd, Ann
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Coaker, Vernon
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough) Coffey, Ms Ann
Benn, Hilary (Leeds C) Cohen, Harry
Benn, Rt Hon Tony (Chesterfield) Coleman Iain
Bennett, Andrew F Colman, Tony
Benton, Joe
Bermingham, Gerald Connarty, Michael
Berry, Roger Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Best, Harold Corbett, Robin
Betts, Clive Corbyn, Jeremy
Blears, Ms Hazel Corston, Jean
Blizzard, Bob Cotter, Brian
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul Cousins, Jim
Bradley, Keith (Withington) Cox, Tom
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin) Crausby, David
Bradshaw, Ben Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Breed, Colin Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Cummings, John
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Buck, Ms Karen Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Burden, Richard Dalyell, Tam
Burgon, Colin Darvill, Keith
Burnett, John Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Burstow, Paul Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Butler, Mrs Christine Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry(B'ham Hodge H) Jones, Ms Jenny (Wolverh'ton SW)
Dawson, Hilton Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Denham, John Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Dismore, Andrew Keeble, Ms Sally
Dobbin, Jim Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Donohoe, Brian H Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Doran, Frank Kemp, Fraser
Dowd, Jim Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Drew, David Khabra, Piara S
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Kidney, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Kilfoyle, Peter
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Edwards, Huw Kirkwood, Archy
Efford, Clive Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ellman, Mrs Louise Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Ennis, Jeff Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Etherington, Bill Laxton, Bob
Fearn, Ronnie Lepper, David
Field, Rt Hon Frank Levitt, Tom
Fisher, Mark Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Fitzpatrick, Jim Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Fitzsimons, Lorna Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Flynn, Paul Linton, Martin
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Livsey, Richard
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Foster, Michael J (Worcester) Lock, David
Foulkes, George McAvoy, Thomas
Fyfe, Maria McCafferty, Ms Chris
Gapes, Mike McDonagh, Siobhain
George, Andrew (St Ives) McDonnell, John
Gibson, Dr Ian McIsaac, Shona
Gilroy, Mrs Linda McNamara, Kevin
Godman, Dr Norman A McNulty, Tony
Godsiff, Roger MacShane, Denis
Goggins, Paul Mactaggart, Fiona
Golding, Mrs Llin McWalter, Tony
Gordon, Mrs Eileen McWilliam, John
Gorrie, Donald Mahon, Mrs Alice
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Mallaber, Judy
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Grocott, Bruce Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE) Martlew, Eric
Hanson, David Maxton, John
Heal, Mrs Sylvia Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Healey, John Meale, Alan
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome) Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N) Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich) Miller, Andrew
Heppell, John Mitchell, Austin
Hesford, Stephen Moffatt, Laura
Hill, Keith Moonie, Dr Lewis
Hinchliffe, David Moran, Ms Margaret
Hoey, Kate Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Hood, Jimmy Morley, Elliot
Hope, Phil Morris, Rt Hon Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E) Mountford, Kali
Howells, Dr Kim Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Hoyle, Lindsay Mudie, George
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Mullin, Chris
Humble, Mrs Joan Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Hurst, Alan Naysmith, Dr Doug
Hutton, John Norris, Dan
Iddon, Dr Brian O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Illsley, Eric O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead) Olner, Bill
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) O'Neill, Martin
Jamieson, David Organ, Mrs Diana
Jenkins, Brian Osborne, Ms Sandra
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian Stevenson, George
Perham, Ms Linda Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Pickthall, Colin Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Pike, Peter L Stinchcombe, Paul
Plaskitt, James Stoate, Dr Howard
Pollard, Kerry Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Pond, Chris Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Pope, Greg Stuart, Ms Gisela
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Stunell, Andrew
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Prescott, Rt Hon John Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Purchase, Ken Temple-Morris, Peter
Quin, Rt Hon Ms Joyce Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Quinn, Lawrie Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Radice, Rt Hon Giles Timms, Stephen
Rammell, Bill Tipping, Paddy
Raynsford, Nick Todd, Mark
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N) Touhig, Don
Rendel, David Trickett, Jon
Roche, Mrs Barbara Truswell, Paul
Rooker, Rt Hon Jeff Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Rooney, Terry Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Rowlands, Ted Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Roy, Frank Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Ruane, Chris Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Ruddock, Joan Tyler, Paul
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Tynan, Bill
Ryan, Ms Joan Vis, Dr Rudi
Salter, Martin Ward, Ms Claire
Sanders, Adrian Wareing, Robert N
Sarwar, Mohammad Watts, David
Sawford, Phil Webb, Steve
Sedgemore, Brian Whitehead, Dr Alan
Sheerman, Barry Wicks, Malcolm
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Willis, Phil
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch) Winnick, David
Smith, John (Glamorgan) Wood, Mike
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent) Woolas, Phil
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns) Worthington, Tony
Snape, Peter Wray, James
Soley, Clive Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel Tellers for the Noes:
Starkey, Dr Phyllis Mr. Kevin Hughes and
Steinberg, Gerry Mrs. Anne McGuire.

Question accordingly negatived.

Main Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 62 (Amendment on second or third reading), and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.