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Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News

MORAY MP STANDS UP FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES IN VOTE AGAINST ‘FLAWED’ INVESTIGATORY POWERS BILL

14/06/2016  

Moray’s MP Angus Robertson has voted against the UK government’s ‘flawed’ Investigatory Powers Bill in parliament this week. The proposals have generated a significant number of letters from Moray residents concerned about the impact of the legislation on civil liberties.

Mr Robertson had previously said that unless the Government changed its position on a series of key amendments to the bill then SNP MPs would vote against it. The local MP also met with the Home Secretary to set out the concerns he and SNP colleagues had.

The SNP has been at the forefront of efforts to scrutinise, amend and improve the legislation to ensure that any new powers are necessary, proportionate and appropriately targeted, and to put in place robust safeguards and independent oversight.

Local MP Mr Robertson said SNP MPs have played a full and constructive part throughout the legislative process and last week the party’s Home Affairs Spokesperson, Joanna Cherry QC MP, again wrote to the Home Secretary Theresa May to outline the SNP’s concerns with the legislation, and to set out a list of amendments without which SNP MPs would not support the Bill.

Angus Robertson MP said:

“This issue has generated a lot of concern for people, which is seen in my constituency mailbag with dozens of people writing to me worried about the erosion of civil liberties in this legislation.

“We have worked hard on this bill in an effort to persuade the Government to take a proportionate view on updating legislation while still fundamentally protecting basic civil liberties. The Government did not accept what I believe were reasonable and balanced proposals and that left us with no choice but to vote against it.

“While the SNP supports giving law enforcement and the intelligence and security services necessary and proportionate powers to fight crime and terrorism, we do not believe the UK government has made the case for new and far reaching powers in the Bill or delivered the necessary robust safeguards and independent oversight that such powers require.

“By voting against the flawed Investigatory Powers Bill the SNP is standing up for people’s civil liberties, privacy and data security.

“The UK government has had many months to make the case for introducing the wide-ranging new powers included in this Bill – powers that are of dubious legality and that go well beyond those provided for in other Western democracies – but it has failed to do so and it has also failed to deliver the robust safeguards and independent oversight that these powers require.

“The SNP supports giving the security services and the police the necessary powers to fight serious crime and terrorism, but it is vital that any new powers are proportionate, focused, and in accordance with law.

“This legislation is of huge constitutional significance and, given the extent to which these powers would intrude on people’s private lives and infringe on our civil liberties, the onus is on the UK government to provide sufficient justification for the necessity of these powers, to ensure they are targeted, and to provide robust safeguards and independent oversight. It has not done so.

“I remain extremely concerned that the government refused to address our concerns or accept our amendments and have forced the bill through without those amendments.”

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