Our head of Data Privacy, Eleonor Duhs, considers the implication of a new Bill being introduced at this time, flouting the usual conventions.

A Data Protection and Digital Information Bill is being introduced in Parliament today, 18 July 2022.

This is surprising in terms of timing. Parliament rises on Thursday for summer recess. The Institute for Government has pointed to the Cabinet Manual (see paragraph 2.27) which states that Boris Johnson’s caretaker administration should only be moving forward with “essential” business. For all other matters it should act with discretion and should not embark on “new action of a continuing or long-term character” which would tie the hands of a future administration.  See my more detailed article on this topic for more.

If this Bill implements the relatively balanced and conservative reforms to the UK GDPR proposed in the government’s response to Data: A New Direction (see our analysis) then this would appear to undermine Rishi Sunak (the frontrunner to replace Boris Johnson)’s proposed policy to scrap the UK GDPR and replace it with “the most dynamic data protection regime in the world”. 

The introduction of a Bill at this stage would therefore appear to flout the usual conventions. But it is hardly out of character for the administration which is shortly due to exit. Further, a Bill which enables interoperability between the EU regime and the new UK regime is likely to be welcomed by organisations across the UK and further afield.