Treatment of Detainees

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 6th July 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Cameron David Cameron The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 3:32 pm, 6th July 2010

May I thank the right hon. and learned Lady for her response and questions? She is right to pay tribute to the security services. It is because we revere and respect what they do that we want to get on with the inquiry and get it done. To answer one of her questions, that is why it is limited to a year, and I hope that it gets started before the end of the year.

Let me deal with the questions in turn. I agree with the right hon. and learned Lady about torture-we have signed countless prohibitions against it, we do not condone it anywhere in the world, and we should be clear that information derived from it is useless. We should also be clear that we should not deport people to be tortured elsewhere, but we should redouble our efforts-my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will be doing that with the Home Secretary-to ensure that we can have guarantees from other countries so that we can deport people to them knowing that they will not be tortured.

On Guantanamo, we are making efforts on behalf of the case that the right hon. and learned Lady mentioned. As she probably knows, it involves a UK resident rather than a UK national.

On whether the current criminal case can continue unimpeded, yes, of course it can. It is a matter for the police and the prosecuting authorities.

The right hon. and learned Lady made several points about the Intelligence and Security Committee. I thank her for her comments about my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kensington. He will do an excellent job and it is an important committee. However, in answer to why there is an inquiry rather than the Intelligence and Security Committee doing the job, the inquiry will be led by a judge and will be fully independent of Parliament, party and Government. That is what we need to get to the bottom of the case. The fact that it is led by a judge will help ensure that we get it done properly. Although I have ultimate respect for the Intelligence and Security Committee, during the previous Parliament, there was such a run-around between the Government and the Committee-not about holding an inquiry, but about publishing the guidance-that I wonder whether the right hon. and learned Lady is taking the right line on that. It is much better to have a judge-led inquiry- [Interruption.] She has not taken a position, and I am pleased to hear that.

The right hon. and learned Lady asked why we should try to mediate civil cases. We want to clear the decks, get the inquiry done and sort out the problem, so why not try to mediate the existing civil cases, roll them up, deal with them, hold the inquiry, get to the bottom of what happened, and set out the guidance for the future so that we remove the stain on Britain's reputation and ensure that our security services can get on with the work? I do not see an alternative; I think that the Government have gripped the matter quickly and comprehensively. I think that is the right answer so we can move on.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website