§ Mr. Maclean
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 12 March 1999,Official Report, columns 379–80, if he will make a statement on the nature of his Department's concerns about the provisions on interception of telecommunications in Council Document 13144/98. 
§ Mr. Straw
The provisions relating to interception of communications in the draft Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the member states of the European Union are currently under negotiation. The United Kingdom is negotiating on the basis that the Convention should apply to criminal investigations carried out by the Police Service and Her Majesty's Customs, and not to the operations of our security and intelligence agencies. We are also keen to ensure that the Convention does not impose unnecessary burdens on the operations of the United Kingdom's law enforcement agencies. A detailed explanation of the Government's concerns has been submitted to the European Scrutiny Committees.