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Amendments Nos. 22, 157 and 162 deal with some of the exceptions to the prohibition in clause 16 and enable intercept material to be considered by the court in cases before the proscribed organisations appeal commission and the special immigration appeals commission, and in any proceedings arising out of proceedings before those commissions.
In order to ensure that, in those special circumstances, the commission can in each case consider any intercept material which may be relevant, the rules governing their procedure have been devised in such a way as to ensure that sensitive material is protected. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of amendment No. 22 reflect that aim, ensuring that intercept material is not disclosed to the appellant himself, or to anyone who represents him. However, there is provision for a special advocate--we have discussed these--to represent the interests of the appellant in any parts of a hearing from which he is excluded.
Lords amendment: No. 33, in page 27, line 11, leave out ("For the purposes of this Part surveillance is directed") and insert
("Subject to subsection (5A), surveillance is directed for the purposes of this Part")
Mr. Clarke: Amendments Nos. 33, 34, 37 and 50 remove from the intrusive surveillance provisions covert surveillance carried out by television licence evasion detector equipment. One of the benefits of the legislation is that, as we have gradually sought to apply the human rights requirements to every act of surveillance undertaken by public authorities in Britain, we have established more clarity about what has been happening and about what, therefore, needs to be reported and regulated in a proper way. That is reflected in the Lords amendments that we will come to later when we consider the schedule that we have published in response to the suasions of the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean). One such activity is the BBC's television licence evasion detector equipment, and we have thought it right to amend the Bill to deal with that.
A police officer carrying out covert surveillance from an observation post sited on residential premises of a third party of a target outside those premises would be caught by the intrusive surveillance provision. That was not intended, so amendments Nos. 35 and 36 limit the category of intrusive surveillance to where a surveillance device is on residential premises or in a private vehicle and is providing information on what is taking place in those premises or in that vehicle, or, where a device is not on the premises, but is providing, in relation to anything taking place on the premises or in the vehicle, information of the same quality
Mr. Heald: We support the amendments. I pay tribute to my noble Friend Lord Lucas, who brought to the attention of the Minister in the other place the unintended consequence of the Bill as it relates to intrusive surveillance, where a police officer using residential premises as an observation post to carry out covert surveillance would have been caught by the definition of intrusive surveillance. The fact that amendments Nos. 35 and 36 deal with that is welcome.
Mr. Maclean: It makes sense to have the amendments and remove the BBC detector vans from the provisions for the time being. So long as we have, in the new millennium, a grubby system whereby people crawl around the countryside in vans trying to find out whether criminals are using a television without a licence, it is probably sensible that we should have these amendments to remove that unnecessary work from this important Bill. I look forward to the time when a Minister from whatever party will be able to come to the Dispatch Box and say that we no longer need the provision because we have a different way in which to fund media organisations, other than requiring people to crawl around in detector vans to see if we are misbehaving by illegally watching a television.
Mr. Maclean: I could not go down that route without incurring your wrath, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The proposal would not cost the Government money; it would save them money. However, that is another debate for another time. I would trust the free market to provide all the television services that we need.
Lords amendment: No. 40, in page 31, line 43, leave out subsection (4) and insert--
("(4) A public authority is a relevant public authority for the purposes of this section--
(a) in relation to section 27 if it is specified in Part I or II of Schedule (Relevant public authorities); and
(b) in relation to section 28 if it is specified in Part I of that Schedule.
(4A) An order under this section may amend Schedule (Relevant public authorities) by--
(a) adding a public authority to Part I or II of that Schedule;
(b) removing a public authority from that Schedule;
(c) moving a public authority from one Part of that Schedule to the other;
(d) making any change consequential on any change in the name of a public authority specified in that Schedule.
Mr. Clarke: I shall comment on the amendments briefly. The serious matter with which they deal was debated at length in Committee, on Report and in the other place. I was sympathetic to the view expressed in this House during our earlier discussions on the Bill: the public authorities empowered to authorise the use of directed surveillance and the use or conduct of covert sources should be set out in a schedule to the Bill. I believed that it was important for public debate that we had as much information as possible. A central record had never been drawn up or held of Departments and other public bodies that used those covert techniques, and it has taken us some time to devise a definitive list. The provision of such information is an important development in government in Britain.
I make no criticism of previous Governments, Conservative or Labour. However, the fact that we did not know properly about those matters is a serious reflection on the state of affairs. On behalf of my officials, I emphasise it has not been easy to establish the precise circumstances across government. They have done a good, professional job. However, as they would be the first to say, even now we may not yet understand everything that has taken place. The schedule that we are considering has changed considerably from the list that I circulated in Committee. When considering that list, the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean) entertained us with his comments on ice cream salespeople and various other issues of great substance. Since then, we have discovered that a greater number of public authorities than we had first thought use part II powers, and that a much greater number of public authorities use covert sources.
We are still learning about public authorities whose activities have not previously come to our attention. That learning process is likely to continue for some time in future. I have no doubt that it will be necessary to introduce orders that add further public authorities to the schedule as a result of case law developed from judgments on the definition of a public authority once the Human Rights Act 1998 comes into force in October. Any additions to the schedule or moves of authorities from part II to part I of the schedule will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. The House will therefore be able to discuss ice cream salespeople in great detail, as the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border would like.