Customs clash.

Paymaster General Dawn Primarolo has rejected a Tory bid to bar Customs officers from using search powers to seize privileged documents, write our parliamentary staff. She insisted the ban was unnecessary because the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, which applies to Customs, prohibits the seizure in the first place of any items where there are reasonable grounds for believing they are subject to privilege. Primarolo refused to go further and undertake that if a seized document was later found to be privileged it would be returned and not used. But she stated: ‘Legal privilege is a hotly defended principle that is to be respected, and the legislation makes no attempt to do otherwise.’

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