Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.


16 MAY 2018

Levenson

Thank you very much for taking the time to email me about the 'Leveson' amendments to the Data Protection Bill.

I am afraid I was absent for the vote as I had a long standing commitment to chair a select committee visit to Amsterdam. Nonetheless, I hope the following information on this matter from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is of interest:

The proposed amendments to the Data Protection Bill would have threatened the free press by trying to introduce Section 40 and reopen the Leveson inquiry, albeit in relation to data protection. This would undermine high quality journalism, and have a significant negative impact on local press, which is already struggling. The amendments were contrary to the 2017 Conservative Manifesto. The Manifesto stated that we would not be proceeding with Leveson 2 and would repeal Section 40.
The Government wants to ensure the press is well-regulated with high standards, albeit with their freedom protected. Tough new data protection laws will apply to journalists from 25 May. The Bill protects the confidentiality of sources and supports well run investigative journalism, but does not give journalists a free hand. Journalists must secure the information they hold, must assess risk when processing data, and must notify the Information Commissioner of any serious data breaches. A new Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) code of practice for journalists will set clear data protection expectations and the ICO will conduct a statutory review of media compliance with the new law over the next four years. If the media has not changed its ways and abuses the trust Parliament is placing in it, then this review will expose that.
After conducting a thorough consultation on the Leveson inquiry, the Government determined that that reopening the Leveson Inquiry is not in the public interest, and that Section 40 is no longer necessary.

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