Victoria Atkins, the recently elected MP for Louth and Horncastle, has spoken in the House of Commons for the first time on the subject of surveillance legislation.
A recent report by David Anderson QC has said that the UK needs “comprehensive and comprehensible” surveillance in the fight against organised crime and terrorism - but critics have dubbed the Government’s proposed legislation as a ‘snoopers’ charter’, warning that the plans would infringe privacy.
The report was discussed in Parliament yesterday (June 11) and Victoria Atkins spoke out in support of data communications legislation, directing her comments towards Home Secretary Theresa May.
Mrs Atkins said: “In my previous life, I prosecuted criminals for a living and I relied on evidence obtained under RIPA [Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act] to convict the guilty.
“What assessment has my right honourable Friend made of the importance of communications data in the fight against terrorism and serious organised crime, including helping those who prosecute criminals to bring them to justice in court?”
Theresa May responded: “I thank my honourable Friend for bringing her experience to this House.”
She added: “It is important that people recognise that this is not just a debate about what this House puts into legislation, it is a debate about the powers that our agencies have and the ability prosecutors then have to bring people to justice.
“Some 95 per cent of serious and organised crime investigations make use of communications data, and such information is essential for prosecution in many of those cases.”