HC Deb 06 March 2001 vol 364 cc139-40
26. Mr. Desmond Browne (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)

What assessment she has made of the human rights implications of the new powers of seizure and for the disclosure of information proposed by the Criminal Justice and Police Bill. [150762]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Dr. Lynda Clark)

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has made a statement of compatibility under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 confirming that, in his view, the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Police Bill are compatible with the convention rights.

Mr. Browne

I thank my hon. and learned Friend for reminding me of that. I am aware that when the requirement for information to be disclosed under the Bill lies in the hands of a public authority, article 8 of the convention will protect an individual's privacy. However, when the information lies in the hands of a private person or private body, how will an individual obtain protection for his or her right to privacy under the Bill?

The Advocate-General

It will be a matter for the courts to perform the balancing exercise required, taking into account the provisions of the Human Rights Act and, of course, the statutory regime under the Data Protection Act 1998, which gives certain protections to the individual.

Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate)

Does not the Advocate-General think that it is a disgrace that those provisions, like many others before the Committee considering the Criminal Justice and Police Bill, will not be considered in detail simply because of the appalling programme motion that the Government have inflicted on the House?

The Advocate-General

If there were less filibustering and more focused argument, the provisions could be considered.