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Home Affairs Committee "inquiry into issues of surveillance"

The BBC reports that Leader of the House of Commons Jack Straw has announced that the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs is due announce an "inquiry into issues of surveillance".

According to the temporary Today in Parliament version of Hansard (the official version should be online tomorrow):

Business of the House
11.33 am


Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome) (LD): May I also thank the Leader of the House for the innovation of announcing statements in advance?


Lastly, can we have a debate on surveillance? The Leader of the House may have noticed the innovative plans by the Conservative-run Ealing borough council to put spy cameras in tin cans to catch people putting out wheelie bins early. Obviously, for Ealing borough council, beans means fines. May we have a debate on whether Big Brother is getting out of hand?

Mr. Straw: I award the hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House’s prize for a very good line: far better than the ones that we get from the Conservative Front Bench.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham), the Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, is about to announce an inquiry into issues of surveillance. I hope that he will ensure that the activities of Conservative-controlled Ealing borough council and its spy cameras in tin cans are given a wider audience in evidence to his Select Committee.

We will be watching this inquiry with interest.


Looking at his record on Theyworkforyou


I am not too sure how 'impartial' said inquiry is likely to be.

More likely to be a gloss and an endorsement of current policy.

@ IanP - the Select Committees, with, in this case a majority of Labour Government MPs and a Labour former Home Office Minister in the Chair, are not really independent of the Government, and they seem to mute any criticism of the Government, even when the evidence they have taken during an inquiry is damning.

No doubt the same will be true when another party takes over from NuLabour.

See the weasel worded conclusions and recommendations of the Home Affairs Committee report into the Draft Identity Cards Bill. They asked for a cost estimate, even to the nearest billion pounds, and were refused a straight answer numerous times, but they still found, that overall the project was somehow A Good Idea in Principle.

This was spun by the Labour Government as if it were a glowing endorsement of the whole scheme.

See "Home Affairs Committee report on Identity Cards"

Think we should petition the UN and Liberty to do their own inquiry. We need to get this stuff on the international map.

Not sure how to go about that though.

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