Government challenged for its decision to remove the All Party Lords Amendment on Hikvision Cameras from the Procurement Bill

Mar 21, 2023 | News

Lord Alton of Liverpool 


My Lords, given the Minister’s previous professional connections with Tesco, she will have noticed that, last weekend, it announced that it will remove Hikvision cameras from its supermarkets—many of us applaud that decision. The Minister will also recall that, when the Procurement Bill left this place, it included an all-party amendment on Hikvision and surveillance cameras. Why did the Government then remove that amendment in Committee in another place? Will they support Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former leader of the Conservative Party, in his attempts, and those of others from across the political divide in the House of Commons, to reinstate that amendment on Report? If not, does that not make everything that has been said to us in the House today contradictory?

I also ask the Minister to look at the evidence of Professor Fraser Sampson, referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones, which he gave to the Joint Committee on Human Rights at the beginning of this month. In answer to a question I asked, he said directly that, because of the facial recognition techniques that can be used, not just by these cameras but by many other pieces of technology, this poses a risk to personal privacy and is therefore liable to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Will the Minister please look at what was said to the Joint Committee?

Baroness Neville-Rolfe 


My Lords, as a former executive of Tesco, obviously I was extremely interested to see this at the top of my in-tray, where other things it does often appear. On Chinese cameras, I have not seen the evidence to which the noble Lord refers, but I would be very interested to see it. But I assure him that discussions on the Procurement Bill continue in the other place, and my noble friend the Paymaster-General has been in discussions with Sir Iain Duncan Smith on this and other issues. Of course, the Procurement Bill will come back to this House in due course, and I look forward to engaging further with the noble Lord.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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