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Lord Phillips of Sudbury: My Lords, as regards Amendment No. 96B, I am not clear what the noble Lord's amendments would achieve. However, I shall wait and see because it sounds as though he agrees with the general ambition.

I am extremely disappointed with his response to the issue of facilities. If he agrees that there is little between us on the wording, I do not understand why he does not accept my wording. It has more bracing and strength than the wording in the Bill.

One must accept that there is in the Bill a severe conflict of interest because the Secretary of State will decide on resources and the commissioner will oversee the Secretary of State. To tell the House that it should take comfort from the fact that the Secretary of State must consult the Treasury is a rather bad joke. I do not believe that the Treasury will be straining at the leash to provide more resources because the interception commissioner is not doing a proper job.

The Minister referred to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Nolan. The House will recollect that when last the matter was raised in Committee the noble and learned Lord rose to support my points about resources inter alia. I have since discussed the matter with him and he regrets that he cannot be here tonight due to his duties as Chancellor of Essex University. However, he is strongly of the view that the Bill so far extends and deepens the role of the commissioner that

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the present arrangements leave everything to the good will and discretion of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will be governed by politics and by budgets. We on these Benches are saying that the role of the commissioner is so pivotal and fundamental, and so much the guarantor of all the Bill's fine print, which we welcome to safeguard civil liberties and the rest, that it is not enough to do as the Minister did in response by saying, "I can give the House my assurance". I am sure that as long as the good Lord Bach has anything to do with it the resources will be sufficient, but relying on the good will of a particular Minister or a particular government is no way to legislate. I am deeply dissatisfied with the Minister's response to Amendment No. 93C.

As regards Amendment No. 94A, I accept that the tribunal will effectively oversee the implementation and carrying out of its orders. I hope that it will have sufficient technical expertise to do so.

In respect of Amendment No. 93B, which refers to the Intelligence and Security Committee, I accept what the Minister says and am therefore happy not to move it. However, as regards Amendments Nos. 93C and 93D relating to access to the Prime Minister, which is currently the entitlement of the commissioner under the 1994 Act, I and my colleagues on these Benches remain unhappy. It may be a matter to which we will want to return on Third Reading but in the mean time I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 93B and 93C not moved.]

Clause 56 [Co-operation with and reports by s.55 Commissioner]:

[Amendment No. 93D not moved.]

Clause 59 [Investigatory Powers Commissioner for Northern Ireland]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 94:

    Page 65, line 17, leave out from ("the") to end of line 18 and insert ("Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 61 [Assistant Surveillance Commissioners]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 95:

    Page 67, line 20, at end insert ("; or

(b) require any Assistant Surveillance Commissioner to provide him with assistance in carrying out his equivalent functions under any Act of the Scottish Parliament in relation to any provisions of such an Act that are equivalent to those of Part II of this Act").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 95 I shall speak also to Amendment No. 96. In Committee we introduced provisions for the establishment of an assistant surveillance commissioner to assist the chief surveillance commissioner in carrying out his functions under Part II. That was necessary because of the extra duties placed on the Chief Surveillance Commissioner to keep under review the exercise of Part II powers by public authorities other than the intelligence agencies and MoD/Armed Forces outside Northern Ireland.

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We felt it necessary to create the post of Assistant Surveillance Commissioner in the absence of sufficient High Court judges to take on the role of Surveillance Commissioner and because we felt it essential to have a judicial input to the oversight role.

These amendments ensure that the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, when carrying out a review function under the Scottish Bill--that is, functions similar to those in Clause 60(1)(a) of this Bill--will be able to obtain assistance from the Assistant Surveillance Commissioner. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 62 [Delegation of Commissioners' functions]:

8 p.m.

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 96:

    Page 67, line 29, after ("enactment") insert ("or any provision of an Act of the Scottish Parliament").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 63 [The Tribunal]:

[Amendments Nos. 96A and 96B not moved.]

Clause 69 [Issue and revision of codes of practice]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 97:

    Leave out Clause 69.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I tabled this amendment in order to give an opportunity to noble Lords who wish to do so to make comments on the codes of practice, which they have been unable to do under previous amendments. I have no such comments, but I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I was going to invite the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, to move Amendments Nos. 97 and 98 at the same time as they have the same purpose. As noble Lords do not seem to have taken up his invitation to comment, he may be happy to adopt the same position on each.

From the Government's point of view with regard to the codes, we published the four preliminary drafts on Monday. They cover interception of communications and accessing communications data, surveillance, covert human intelligence sources, and investigation of electronic data protected by encryption, and so on. They are in the public domain and we look forward to receiving comments from industry.

By and large, we have already received some favourable observations. I believe that people greatly respect the fact that we have published them in their preliminary form. I believe that it is a very good example of the Government being open and trying to encourage and engage with an industry and a sector. I know that we were criticised at an earlier stage of the Bill for failure so to engage. However, we have now done so and we shall look forward to and welcome comments as they come in. I am sure that those comments will be made in a spirit which attempts to improve the codes. That, after all, is what we want. We shall be more than happy to accept direct representations about their content.

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We accept that the documents will not be perfect in every way, shape and form. That is the nature of a draft. However, we believe that we have been as helpful as we possibly can be in this matter. After we have improved the codes as far as possible, the Secretary of State will consult on the drafts as required by Clause 69 and in accordance with Cabinet Office practice and guidelines. Therefore, there will be a full eight-week consultation period.

I hope that that clarifies how we intend to approach matters. We want to be as helpful as possible. We have placed the drafts on the website and we look forward to receiving as much commentary of a useful kind as we can possibly encourage.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I am grateful for that explanation. It is indeed a tribute to the Minister that no one has anything to add to what I have said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 70 [Effect of codes of practice]:

[Amendment No. 98 not moved.]

Clause 76 [Orders, regulations and rules]:

Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 99 and 100:

    Page 83, line 16, after ("section") insert (" 2(10B),").

    Page 83, line 16, after ("12(7),") insert (" 20(7B),").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 79 [General interpretation]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 100A:

    Page 84, line 18, at end insert--

("activity affecting "the economic well-being of the United Kingdom" shall not include activity taking place within the United Kingdom;").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment arises directly from the contacts which I mentioned earlier with Poptel, the online service provider to many governmental organisations, the voluntary sector and particularly to trade unions. One concern that it mentioned was that some previous powers in comparable legislation specifically excluded activities within the United Kingdom from the definition of "economic well-being of the United Kingdom" so that the powers of, for example, GCHQ to look into matters which affect the economic well-being of the United Kingdom concern only external matters.

If it is for the convenience of the House, I shall mention also Amendment No. 101A because it arises from the same correspondence. That amendment excludes the so-called "common purpose" condition from the definition a little later in Clause 79. Noble Lords will see rapidly that common purpose, when applied to the possibility of damage to the economic well-being of the United Kingdom internally, could be considered to cover from time to time some of the activities of trade unions. That has given rise to concern and I believe that it was right to bring that concern to the notice of your Lordships. I beg to move.

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