Thursday 1 March 2018
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Data Protection Bill
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has made the following statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998:
In my view, the provisions of the Data Protection Bill are compatible with the convention rights.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
EU Environment Council
I will attend the EU Environment Council, which takes place on 5 March in Brussels.
Following the adoption of the agenda, the list of “A” items will be approved.
Under non-legislative activities, Council will exchange views on delivering the circular economy action plan, including; a) European strategy for plastics in a circular economy, b) monitoring framework for the circular economy and c) implementation of the circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation.
The following items are currently on the agenda to be considered under “Any Other Business”:
Regulation on C02 standards for cars and vans;
Developments regarding shipping and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO);
21st European Forum on Eco-innovation for air quality (Sofia, 5-6 February 2018);
Global Pact for the Environment;
Implementation of the regulation on invasive alien species.
The UK has additionally tabled an AOB with France calling on the EU and its member states to ban commercial trade in raw ivory within the EU to tackle the current elephant poaching crisis.
Two further AOB items have been added to the agenda on the elimination of deforestation from the supply chain and the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24, Katowice, 3-14 December 2018).
A lunchtime discussion will then be held on enabling eco-innovation transition towards a circular economy.
Council will conclude with an exchange of views on Greening the European Semester. This will address the integration of environmental considerations of the European Semester with the implementation of environmental policy, linking to the Environmental Implementation Review and Environmental Compliance and Governance Action Plan.
Until the UK leaves the European Union, the UK remains a full member of the EU and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. The outcome of our negotiations with the EU on the future partnership will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future.
Today the security service reduced the threat level to Great Britain from Northern Ireland-related terrorism from SUBSTANTIAL to MODERATE. This means that a terrorist attack is possible, but not likely.
The threat level to the UK from international terrorism remains at SEVERE, and the threat level to Northern Ireland from Northern Ireland-related terrorism also remains at SEVERE, meaning that an attack is highly likely.
Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack. They are a tool for security practitioners working across different sectors and the police to use in determining what protective security response may be required. They also keep the public informed and give context to the protective security measures which we all encounter in our daily lives.
Despite the change which has been made today, there remains a real and serious threat against the United Kingdom from terrorism and I would ask the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police regardless of the threat level.
The decision to change this threat level is taken by the security service independently of Ministers and is based on the very latest intelligence, considering factors such as capability, intent and timescale. Threat levels are kept under constant review.
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Child Migration Programmes
I am pleased to announce that the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has today published its first regular report, which can be found at www.iicsa.org.uk.
This report relates to its child migration programmes case study. The child migration policy was misguided and deeply flawed. Successive Governments have accepted that the policy of child migration was wrong. The 2010 national apology has been reaffirmed in each subsequent year. Over £9 million has been made available to former child migrants to help them be reunited with their families.
Across Government, we look forward to viewing this report and considering how we can respond to its content. Meanwhile I would like to thank Professor Jay and her Panel for their continued work to uncover the truth, expose what went wrong in the past and to learn the lessons for the future.
Housing, Communities and Local Government
In my update to the House on Grenfell Tower and building safety on 18 December 2017,1 referred to anxieties about the long-term future of the Grenfell Tower site from those who have been most affected by the terrible events of 14 June 2017.
I set out that the Minister for Grenfell Victims was working with the local community and council to agree a set of written principles that will guide the way forward on decision making for the future of the site. The bereaved, survivors and immediate North Kensington community will lead and be at the heart of the decision-making process.
I am today placing a copy of the agreed principles in the House Library so that our commitments are on the record. I am also placing in the Library a copy of a letter from myself and the Minister for Grenfell Victims to residents offering assurance about ongoing engagement regarding management of Grenfell Tower.
Investigatory Powers: Oversight
On 1 September, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Lord Justice Fulford took on responsibility for overseeing the use of investigatory powers by public authorities. This was a significant milestone in the transition to new oversight arrangements under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.
To enable the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to take on additional oversight functions not covered by his statutory responsibilities, I gave two directions to the Commissioner on 22 August 2017. Issuing these directions forms part of our rigorous intelligence oversight system.
One direction instructed the Commissioner to keep under review compliance with the consolidated guidance on detainees by officers of the security and intelligence agencies, and members of the Armed Forces and employees of the Ministry of Defence so far as they are engaged in intelligence activities. The consolidated guidance sets out the standards that personnel must apply during the detention and interviewing of detainees held by others overseas. The other direction instructed the Commissioner to keep under review the application of the security service guidelines on the use of agents who participate in criminality and the authorisations issued in accordance with them. In accordance with my obligation to publish such directions under section 230 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016,1 am now depositing in the Libraries a copy of both directions.