IPB The second reading, and thus the first vote, on the Investigatory Powers Bill will take place in the UK's House of Commons this afternoon, where the Labour opposition is sending mixed signals as to what the electorate may expect.
Andy Burnham, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, has announced that Labour MPs will abstain from voting on the Snoopers' Charter, rather than vote against it, the Independent has reported.
However, in an opinion piece published in the Guardian this morning, Labour MP Sir Keir Starmer, KCB, QC, stated that the current bill was not fit for purpose.
Starmer, who did not suggest his party would be voting against the Snoopers' Charter, explained that in his legal career he had "represented many individuals in cases against the police and the security and intelligence services as a human rights lawyer, and having also worked with those same bodies as Director of Public Prosecutions, I know all too well the challenges this legislation will throw up and the importance of making sure Parliament gets it right."
Parliament is not getting it right, he suggested, saying that Labour questions the bill's provisions for bulk powers "which allow the security and intelligence agencies to collect large volumes of data including communications and content," and for requiring ISPs to retain “internet connection records” for 12 months.
"Labour will also challenge the government on the thresholds that have to be met before data obtained using bulk powers is permitted to be accessed," Starmer added, presumably having immediately given up on the idea of questioning the bill's provisions for bulk powers.
The Labour MP is no stranger to draconian powers, having been responsible as DPP for the Twitter Joke Trial, the prosecution of Paul Chambers who jokingly tweeted about blowing up Robin Hood airport after becoming frustrated at delays. ®