New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: One thing not mentioned in the Prime Minister’s statement – and for good reason – was communications data. Whatever one thinks about the Communications Data Bill, our report did not focus on this matter at all significantly because it played no relevant part. Nevertheless, there was a serious leak at an early stage from the unredacted draft of the report, which was reported in a Sunday paper, saying that the report was going to concentrate on this area. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that if MI5 is going to continue to share so much secret material with the Intelligence and Security Committee, leaks of our drafts are absolutely to be deplored and might imperil our ability to do this sort of work in the future?

[The Prime Minister: I completely agree with my hon. Friend. All leaks are to be deplored, but leaks of this particular sort of material, when we have trusted the Committee with such important and delicate work, are particularly reprehensible. Communications data are vital not just in respect of terrorism, but when we are trying to find abducted children or solve rapes and murders. They are used in almost all serious crimes. What we did in the Bill was simply to stop the situation from getting worse. What we need now is to go forward with more full-throated legislation. I think we need an honest and open debate about that across the House.]