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Peers Drop Plans to Sneak ‘Snooper’s Charter’ into Law

2015-02-03 10:10

A group of rebel peers who tried to sneak the controversial Snooper’s Charter into a bill passing through the House of Lords have abandoned their efforts in the face of mounting opposition.

Former defense secretary Lord King, Lib Dem counter-terrorism expert Lord Carlile, former Labour defense minister Lord West and former Met commissioner Lord Blair wanted to add parts of the draft Communications Bill into the current Counter Terrorism and Security Bill.

The proposed amendments would have given new powers to the home secretary to force telecoms providers to retain and hand over communications data if requested by the authorities.

However, the group of peers withdrew their bid last night, saving themselves the embarrassment of a likely heavy defeat if it had gone to a vote.  

"We will lose an opportunity to put in place a temporary stop-gap measure that could have reduced the threat to our nation from terrorism at the present time,” said Lord King, according to the BBC.

"We just have to pray that we don't pay too high a price for that."

The draft Communications Bill was heavily criticized in a joint committee as it was making its way through the Commons. The committee raised question marks over the scope of snooping powers it would afford the authorities, and the potentially high costs of compliance.

Rights bodies the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) and Open Rights Group both came out in strong opposition to the peers’ attempts to sneak the charter into law.

Most recently, ORG executive director Jim Killock argued that the Lords in question should drop their plans and let the major parties set out their views at the general election in a few months’ time.

“The Lords is an unelected revising and advisory chamber, which needs to be careful not to deny the electorate their say, and not to play party politics with an issue that impinges on everyone’s fundamental rights,” he said in a blog post.

Source: /srepoons-kaens-snalp-pord-sreep/swen/moc.enizagam-ytirucesofni.www

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