Is the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill alive or dead?

24/05/2024 | UK Parliament

In the wake of Rishi Sunak's snap announcement for the 2024 general election, the fate of the Data Protection and Digital Information (DPDI) Bill remains uncertain. With the election scheduled for 4th July, the process of dissolving parliament and the "wash-up" period have significant implications for pending legislation. 

Articles in The Guardian and the Financial Times (£) report several Bills that have failed. Neither mentions the DPDI Bill. By Thursday afternoon, The Law Gazette updated an article from earlier in the day suggesting the Bill is among several to have failed. In the absence of an official announcement, industry professionals scour social media for news. 

post on X by Lord Prem Sikka just after 4pm claims the Bill has fallen in the Lords as the government accepted defeat. A similar thread on LinkedIn suggests the same. 

On Friday morning, an article by senior data protection specialist Jon Baines at law firm Mischon de Raya wrote: "It now appears that, with Parliament due to be dissolved no later than the 31 May, and no indication that there is any likelihood of the Bill being included in the "wash up" process, whereby some priority legislation is fast-tracked before dissolution, it has lapsed. Indeed – there has been strong indication from opposition peers that the Bill has now "failed". 

The article links to yesterday's Hansard in the Lords chamber, in which Lord Clement-Jones said: "It has been a pretty long ride when one looks back to the beginning of the suite of digital Bills in the past two years, starting with the Online Safety Bill, then the digital markets Bill, and now the non-lamented data protection Bill, and I look forward to further digital legislation in the autumn or the beginning of next year." 

Another post on X by Neil Ross, Associate Director at the non-governmental trade association TechUK, suggests the Bill came "unstuck as a result controversial late amendments from the DWP."

In the absence of an official announcement, to paraphrase Miricle Max from The Princess Bride, the Bill appears to be 'MOSTLY dead'. 

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