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British MPS investigating the Cambridge Analytica data scandal have siezed a cache of Facebook documents.

Rarely used parliamentary powers were used to demand that the boss of a US software firm hand over the details.

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The Observer, which first reported the story, said the documents included data about Facebook’s privacy controls.

MP Damian Collins later told the BBC that he believed the documents were “highly relevant” to his inquiry. Facebook has demanded their return.

The documents were intercepted when an executive of US tech firm Six4Three was on a trip to London.

In a highly unusual move the House of Commons serjeant-at-arms was sent to the businessman’s hotel and he was given a final warning and a two-hour deadline to comply with the order.

When the executive failed to do so he was escorted to Parliament and warned he risked fines and imprisonment if the documents were not surrendered, the paper said.

The firm is involved in court action against Facebook in the US, where the documents were obtained through legal procedures.