HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 c291 3.31 pm
Mr. Roger Gale (North Thanet)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This matter arises out of the operation of the Data Protection Act 1998, which I believe can fundamentally affect the work of Members of Parliament in representing their constituents.

On Monday of this week, I received a telephone call from a Government Department indicating that before it could reply to a letter that I had sent to it on behalf of a constituent, it required a consent form from my constituent. My constituent had written on behalf of her profoundly deaf daughter, for whom she is the carer and whose interests I have sought to represent over 18 years.

That is just one of a significant number of incidents when Government Departments, agencies and other organisations—I am thinking particularly of Consignia—have sought to deny Members information, sheltering behind the Data Protection Act. On behalf of Back-Bench Members, whose interests you, Mr. Speaker, have continuously sought to protect, would you please seek an urgent meeting with the Information Commissioner, Elizabeth France, to clarify fully and finally the manner in which Members of Parliament may be, could be and should be properly allowed to represent their constituents' interests?

Mr. Speaker

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his point of order. I can understand his frustration, but it is not for me to say whether an Act of Parliament passed by the House has been correctly interpreted and applied. I suggest that he pursue his point with the Information Commissioner and the responsible Minister.