MPs in a muddle over GDPR and storing voters' personal data

Labour MP Chris Bryant says his staff were told to delete constituents' data

With less than ten days until GDPR comes into force, MPs say they have received conflicting information over storage of processed personal data.

Chris Bryant, the Labour MP for Rhondda, raised the issue in the House of Commons on Monday and tweeted shortly after.

"Just raised a point on the ludicrous exaggerated advice to MPs on the General Data Protection Regulation that we should delete all casework information from before June 2018," he said. 

Speaking to the BBC, Mr. Bryant said his staff had attended a GDPR training session which had been organised by the House of Commons, and came away with the impression that all data from before the last general election would have to be deleted.

According to Bryant, deleting information about completed constituency cases would make it impossible to do his job properly, saying: "My constituents expect me to have their details when they visit."

The next day the speaker of the House, John Bercow responded and told the House of Commons that there was nothing to suggest the trainers had advised deletion of any processed data.

"Despite vigorous inquiry yesterday by the House Authorities and the contractor commissioned by the House Authorities to support Members and their staff, no trace has been found by those responsible of such advice having been given," he said.

Under Article 5 of GDPR personal data can only be stored if it is necessary for processing purposes.

However, the law states: "Personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes in accordance with Article 89"

Not all casework information will be necessary, but MPs deal with a variety of constituency issues that will arguably fall under this stipulation.

Picture: Shutterstock

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