The Intelligence and Security Committee – on which I sit – is the committee that scrutinises and holds the UK Government to account for its action over national security issues.
We previously undertook an investigation into rendition but had to conclude it as the UK Government refused our access to certain witnesses. We expect the news of a judge led inquiry into rendition should be announced in the next few days.
I asked the de facto Deputy Prime Minister if this judge led inquiry would have access to all witnesses including the ones that our committee could not hear from. The Minister did not reply to the details of my question but said he was listening to my challenge.
I was selected by the Leader of the Labour Party and the Prime Minister to sit on the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). This committee sits in private, unlike all other committees, as we hold the Government and our security services to account for actions they have taken. We must consider documents with the highest security to do this.
You may have seen the ISC produced a report into rendition and the UK’s involvement following the atrocious terrorist attacks in the US on 9/11. Our report noted a number of concerns about the UK’s monitoring of the situation and lack of support for our security service personnel. At this urgent question I wanted to know what would happen if a judge led inquiry was allowed to take place.
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. Read more “Re-appointment to Intelligence and Security Committee”