IPBill The Liberal Democrats are planning to meet the Investigatory Powers Bill with strong resistance in the House of Lords, a list of key issues shared with The Register reveals.
The bill, which will bolster state surveillance in the United Kingdom, remains especially unpopular amongst IT-literate members of the public, who are particularly aware of its potential to undermine security standards and civil liberties.
Encouraged by the Labour party’s comments, many expected this would provoke stronger opposition from their elected representatives when it was debated in the House of Commons. Eventually it passed through that chamber by 444 votes to 69 on 7 June.
All eight Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the Snooper’s Charter.
There are, however, 108 Lib Dem peers in the House of Lords, who, along with 173 crossbenchers and 210 Labour peers, the party is ready to campaign to demand heavy concessions from the 244 government peers.
Speaking to The Register, Brian Paddick, a Liberal Democrat peer and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police said: “The experience with legislation is that is goes through the House of Commons very quickly and is only considered in detail in the House of Lords,” noting the Lords’ 150 amendments to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 as an example of the upper chamber’s capability to improve legislation.
There will be no immediate fireworks when the bill receives its second reading in the Lords on 27 June. As the first Monday after the EU referendum, which is likely to hold the public and media’s focus, the second reading will be an especially “vague and general canter over the bill as a whole,” Paddick told us.
“People don’t normally speak for over ten minutes, and a bill of this size and magnitude is hard to cover in 10 minutes,” he added, “so it will be a means of giving an indication to other peers of what our concerns will be.”
“We’re keeping our powder dry for the committee stage,” Paddick added. This will take place two weeks after the second reading, and will consist of six days during which the Lords will consider the bill line by line.