Friday 27 February 2009

Inside story on the DNA row...

There’s been a heated argument between MPs scrutinizing proposals to regulate the national DNA database.

At the centre is Notts MP Vernon Coaker, the Police Minister, who is being accused of trying to sneak through database regulation without giving Parliament a proper say.

Lobbydog first spotted the story in the Daily Mail today, and decided to give some members of the Policing and Crime Bill Committee a call to find out what really happened.

The UK is being forced to reassess its database after EU judges ruled in December it was unlawful to keep the records of innocent citizens.

Innocents make up one in five of those on the database.

Despite having known about the ruling since the end of 2008 the Government suddenly introduced an amendment to its Bill during recess last week.

That meant there would be just two committee meetings left, on Tuesday and yesterday, for opposition MPs to question that amendment.

The technical bit - the change means the Government will formulate its compliance with the EU ruling through statutory instruments (SI), not primary legislation.

Primary legislation goes through all the normal law making processes, being widely debated in the Commons, Lords and in committees.

But SIs are only debated in a special SI committee – in which Government whips are able to pack loyal MPs who won’t rock the boat.

The SI committee can approve the new rules, seeing them pass into law, without the issue being debated in the House.

Opposition MPs now expect the Government to try and stretch the EU ruling as far as possible in an attempt to maintain the size of the DNA database.

That is the kind of thing Ministers would be called out on if the rules had a chance to pass through the Commons.


JuanKerr.com said...

You have got too wonder as too the ultimate purpose of all this civil liberties fiddling. Is it so as irksome people can suddenly be branded a pedo or a warrant for their arrest on the edit of one record?

Brown, Mandelson and Campbell are seriously creepy people, I would not put it past them. Allready the media has shown it is about as willing to tackle serious issues as a dead sheep is a bale of fresh grass.So they could effectively get away with what they want.

Bent Society said...

Put all civil servants and Government Ministers and MPs and their staff and all members of the armed forces on a trial DNA database and make them all carry National Identity cards at all times for a 5 year trial period and evaluate the experiment in terms of cost, security of data and injustice and justice. Then lets see if its a good idea.

In the meantime, I do not give my informed consent to the UK government to conduct a social experiment upon me or experiment on me in any way. The right to informed consent as a fundamental human right is to protect the human beings from experimental abuses of the kind perpetrated by the Nazis in Germany and has its basis in the Geneva Convention following Nazi war criminal trials. This covers social experimentation projects.

Lobbydog said...

I think your first suggestion has a lot of merit. Who knows what crimes we'd solve with that lot on the register.

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