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WESTMINSTER WATCH - E-MAIL CHARTER DELAYED AFTER TORY THREAT

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Controversial plans to push through powers extending the rights of councils to demand access to telephone and e-mai...
Controversial plans to push through powers extending the rights of councils to demand access to telephone and e-mail records have been delayed.

MPs were due to debate a draft order which would have enabled seven new Whitehall departments, as well as councils and other public bodies, access to communications data.

But the Home Office said the debate had now been postponed due to 'parliamentary procedures'.

No alternative date has yet been

set.

The disclosure came after the Tories warned they would be prepared to oppose the draft order, dubbed a 'snoopers' charter', when it came to the Lords, if Labour used its majority to push it through the Commons.

With the Liberal Democrats and some independent crossbench peers thought to oppose the measure, the government could easily face defeat in the upper chamber.

The draft order would extend surveillance powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers

Act 2000, which are restricted to the police, the intelligence agencies, Customs & Excise and the Inland Revenue.

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