Mark Lancaster MP

Mark Lancaster MP (Conservative) MP for North East Milton Keynes.


E-mail: Tel: 01908 686830 Office: Suite 102, Foxhunter Drive, Linford Wood, Milton Keynes, MK14 6GD

Digital Economy Bill

Contacted by at least one ORG supporter.


He said in this debate[1]:

I do not wish to seem clichéd, but the similarities that can be drawn between this invasive style of mapping and an Orwellian thriller are increasing. However, it is not the state that is carrying out this street surveillance, but private companies, and that causes me and many other hon. Members great concern. Big Brother should not be watching us, and especially not a private Big Brother. As a non-lawyer, I confess that I was surprised to discover that privacy is not a right, but simply a reasonable expectation, as most recently established in the case of Campbell v. MGN Ltd in 2004.

Don't Spy On Us

Replying to a constituent email as part of the Don't Spy On Us campaign, Mark Lancaster said:

Thank you for contacting me about the work of GCHQ.

I understand the concerns you have raised, but I would like to stress from the outset that, in line with the practice of successive Governments, Ministers do not comment on specific issues relating to the work of the intelligence agencies. However, I would like to assure you that the work undertaken by GCHQ is done within a rigorous legal and regulatory framework and its work is scrutinised by the Intelligence and Security Committee.

I believe that it is imperative that the right balance is struck between upholding civil liberties and the right to privacy, and protecting the public by maintaining the ability of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to access vital communications data. Andrew Parker, Director General of the British Security Service, stressed in a public session of the Intelligence and Security Committee that the intelligence community relies on the fantastic work that GCHQ does to detect terrorist communications. It provides agencies with the capability to find terrorist plots that would not otherwise be found, which can then be thwarted, leading to lives being saved.

However, I would point out that to intercept the content of any individual’s communications in the UK requires a warrant signed personally by the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary, or by another Secretary of State. This is no casual process, with every decision based on extensive legal and policy advice. Warrants are legally required to be necessary, proportionate and carefully targeted.

At a parliamentary level, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) examines the policy, administration, past operations and expenditure of the intelligence agencies and parts of the wider Government intelligence community. The powers of the ISC have recently been extended by the Government through the Justice and Security Act 2013, which makes it a committee of Parliament; provides greater powers; and increases its remit, including oversight of operational activity.

I would stress that the leaking of any classified information can make the work of maintaining the security of the UK and our allies more difficult. It may also provide a partial and potentially misleading picture that gives rise to public concerns.

Kind regards,


Identity cards

Signed Early Day Motion 263 Identity Cards 06 June 2005

That this House believes that a convincing case for the introduction of compulsory biometric identity cards and a national database has not been made, that the risks involved far outweigh any discernible benefit, that the introduction of identity cards will fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state, diminish personal privacy and threaten civil liberties, that the present proposals do not provide properly costed, proportionate or effective solutions to the problems they are claimed to solve; and calls upon the Government to shelve plans for their introduction.