What now for DPDI given snap election?

We look at the effect on the draft Data Protection and Digital Information No 2 Bill (DPDI 2) now that the UK government has called a snap election - so near to the end of its path through Parliament, will it die or will it pass?
Chaos

What happens to DPDI 2 now that Prime Minister Sunak, on 22 May 2024, called a snap general election for 4 July 2024?

Let’s look at DPDI 2’s path through Parliament, its status as at 23 May 2024, and what might happen next.

 

DPDI’s Path through Parliament

  • The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (DPDI 1) was introduced in the Commons on 18 July 2022. We did a popular side-by-side comparison with UK GDPR (don’t read that one, we redid it later).
  • Then Boris Johnson was replaced by Liz Truss and the next day, 5 September 2022, DPDI 1’s second reading was cancelled and DPDI 1 was effectively put on hold. It was withdrawn on 8 March 2023.
  • On the same date, 8 March 2023, DPDI was relaunched as The Data Protection and Digital Information (No.2) Bill (DPDI 2). As the House of Commons Library noted, not much was changed. We redid our popular side-by-side comparison with UK GDPR.
  • DPDI 2 then went through an interminable review process with (deliberately?) hard to follow amendments and, again, people lost a lot of will-to-live trying to track changes.
  • DPDI 2 went through the House of Commons and was near the end of its path through the House of Lords, to the extent it looked set to become law in summer 2024, as Pinsent Masons and others confidently reported.

And then, on 22 May 2024, Sunak called a snap election for 4 July 2024.

 

DPDI 2 as at 23 May 2024

The status of DPDI 2 on 23 May 2024, as per Parliament itself, was that it was waiting for the Report stage in the House of Lords scheduled for 10 June 2024, which would be followed by the Commons and Lords passing it between them (the ‘Consideration of amendments’ phase) until all is finalised:

 

DPDI Progress 230524

None of that is going to happen now.

 

The snap election

When an election is called, Parliament is rapidly suspended so that the political parties can start campaigning.

On 23 May, King Charles, at the Privy Council, prorogued (suspended) Parliament ‘on a day no earlier than Friday, 24th May 2024 and no later than Tuesday, 28th May 2024, to Friday 31st May 2024, and directing the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain to prepare a Commission accordingly.’

 

Now, the ‘wash-up’ period

Nothing to do with the dishes. Wash-up periods are explained by the Parliament website:

‘The wash-up period refers to the last few days of a Parliament before dissolution. Any unfinished business is lost at dissolution and the Government may need the co-operation of the Opposition in passing legislation that is still in progress.

In the past some Bills have been lost completely, while others have progressed quickly but in a much-shortened form.’ 

And the horse-trading is already underway. The situation will rapidly change. As we write, the BBC reported that ‘The Post Office Offences (Horizon System) Bill has been passed by Parliament.’ and the Guardian reports that the Media Bill has passed.

The Criminal Justice Bill, the Tobacco and Vapes Bill, the Renters Reform Bill, the Football Governance Bill – all big political footballs (sorry) in this Parliament. All among the 16 Bills fighting to get through in the next two days.

 

What this means for DPID 2

Basically Parliament is closing down so the parties can campaign for the election before the planned Report stage for DPDI 2. So, if DPDI 2 isn’t passed in a horse-trading session in the next few days between the Conservatives and Labour parties, it’s dead.

As the Law Society reports, other major pieces of legislation that may live or die are the Victims of Prisoners Bill, and ‘[a]mong the remainder not tabled and likely to fail are the data protection bill, the Leasehold and Freehold Bill, Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation [SLAPPS] Bill …

Bills that get through the wash-up period tend to be those that were simply waiting for Royal Assent or those that have at least passed all bar final tweaks and both parties are suitably motivated to get them through in the 48 hours available.

DPDI didn’t feature in Penny Mordaunt’s statement to the House on 23 May, understandably given the other Bills mentioned. And there’s only tomorrow, Friday 24 May for further business.

Watch this space to see how DPDI 2 squares up against the other Bills.

 

 

 


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