Home secretary Theresa May has signaled her intention to bring forward new communications data legislation in the next parliament - a move likely to be opposed by legal professional bodies.
Asked by the BBC this morning in what way her party had been ‘held back’ by being in coalition over the past five years, May cited the Draft Communications Data Bill, dubbed the 'snoopers’ charter by critics'.
The bill would have required telecommunications and internet providers to retain data about customers' communications, but Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg withdrew his support and the legislation was blocked.
May said she will seek to re-introduce it in the next parliament to increase the security of British people.
‘David Cameron has already said and I have said that a Conservative government would be giving the security agencies and law enforcement agencies the powers that they need to ensure that they are keeping up to date as people communicate with data.
‘We were prevented from bringing that legislation into parliament in the last government because of the coalition with the Liberal Democrats and we are determined to bring that through because we believe it is what is necessary to maintain the capabilities for our law enforcement agencies such that they can continue to do the excellent job they do day in and day out of keeping us safe and secure.’
Any new bill is likely to revive calls for statutory protection for legal professional privilege. The Law Society and Bar Council are among organisations already campaigning for reform of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act following revelations that the security services have intercepted communications between lawyers and their clients.