DRIP… Letter to My MP

Dear Andrew Turner,

I am writing to you today to express concern about the way in which the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill [1] is being rushed through Parliament without appropriate time allowed for scrutiny of the Bill or members to elicit expert and informed opinion about what the consequences of the Bill might be.

I do not know if you have read the Bill [1], the supporting documentation (explanatory notes and impact assessment) [2], or the ECJ ruling [3] that prompted the emergency legislation, or how you intend to vote in the matter of the Bill. If you have not read the supporting documents, but you do intend to vote in support of the Bill, I would like to ask by what rationale you came to that decision? Because it would not be in my name as a constituent and you would not have my support in the matter.

If you do not have time to read through the official documents, may I ask what other sources of information you turned to in forming your opinion. For your information, [4] considers some of the issues raised in the impact assessment document.

Informed opinion appears to differ in several important respects in the extent to which it believes the Bill may introduce new or extended powers or extend the scope of regulation, rather than just securing previous legislation, from the public statement that introduced the bill, and the Home Secretary’s comments in the HoC Home Affairs Committee today. This suggests that more time for considering this Bill is required – if the House is not clear about what the legislation says, it should not pass it. If it is clear, how does it counter the claims raised by the informed dissenters?

As I have written to you previously, I would also like to express concern once again about the cavalier and ill-informed way in which the Government introduce and attempt to pass legislation particularly in respect of “digital” matters.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Hirst