Labour victory as Howard retreats on bugging plans

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The Independent Online
Labour claimed victory last night as the Home Secretary announced a retreat over plans to legalise the "bugging and burgling" of private property by the police.

Michael Howard said in a written House of Commons answer that police would have to apply for prior approval from a government-appointed security commissioner in all but urgent cases. Where the matter was urgent, they would have to apply within 24 hours. The Government was defeated in the House of Lords on the issue after Labour withdrew its previous support for the plans.

The Liberal Democrats claimed last night that the measures still did not provide adequate safeguards. The party, which has opposed the measures all along, said there was no adequate definition of the circumstances in which exceptions could be made. The Law Society said the Bill remained flawed.