Last night I was officially appointed to the Houses of Parliament Intelligence and Security Committee.
The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) was first established by the Intelligence Services Act 1994 to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of the Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The Justice and Security Act 2013 reformed the ISC: making it a Committee of Parliament; providing greater powers; and increasing its remit (including oversight of operational activity and the wider intelligence and security activities of Government). Other than the three intelligence and security Agencies, the ISC examines the intelligence-related work of the Cabinet Office including: the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC); the Assessments Staff; and the National Security Secretariat. The Committee also provides oversight of Defence Intelligence in the Ministry of Defence and the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office.
Members of the ISC are nominated by the Prime Minister and in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. They are then appointed by Parliament and the Committee reports directly to Parliament. The Committee may also make reports to the Prime Minister on matters which are national security sensitive.
The Members are subject to Section 1(1)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 and have access to highly classified material in carrying out their duties. The Committee takes evidence from Cabinet Ministers and senior officials – all of which is used to formulate its reports.
This recent re-appointment will be added to my current portfolio in Parliament. Has am already a member of the House of Commons Justice Select Committee and a member of the Speaker’s Panel of Chairs, which sees me presiding over parliamentary debates and Bill committees on the behalf of Mr. Speaker.
I am honoured to have been re-appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. Being a member of this Committee will see me scrutinising and investigating the Government’s approach to protecting our security.
This is an important Committee as it deals with the oversight of our security and intelligence services. In times of great unrest in the world we must ensure that those institutions and specialists who protect our country from attack are provided the support they need. But we must make sure that their work is scrutinised so we know that they are working effectively towards maintaining our safety.
I will be continuing my membership of the Justice Committee and still sit on the Speaker’s Panel of Chairs. But most importantly I will press the Government on behalf of my constituents and work actively within the constituency to help individuals, businesses and charities in Delyn.