In brief: Election puts paid to bugging amendment

The Police Bill will not be amended to protect solicitors from being bugged because of the rush to clear the Parliamentary decks before the General Election, which also saw Michael Howard's controversial Crime Sentences Bill severely weakened. The move follows Labour's decision to withdrew a Law Society-supported clause to the Police Bill which would have placed conversations between solicitor and client in police cells and prisons under the same protection as those on private premises. A letter by David Maclean, minister of state for the Home Office, which addresses Law Society concerns and will be lodged in the House of Commons' library, has not reassured Roger Eade, secretary to the Law Society's Criminal Law Committee. “On the face of the bill, the bugging of conversations in police cells or prisons remains unregulated,” said Eade.