GCHQ

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:07 pm on 10th June 2013.

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Photo of William Hague William Hague The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 4:07 pm, 10th June 2013

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right; as a former Foreign Secretary he is very experienced in these matters. I argued in my statement that, as he knows very well, the system of checks and balances and scrutiny that we have is among the strongest in the world; it could be the strongest in the world. Yes, he is right that the agencies easily come in for criticism when anything goes wrong and yet have to ensure at all times that they are gathering all the information they ought to be obtaining. They undertake a task for which they are not thanked and recognised often enough. They have achieved a great deal in frustrating attacks on this country, including, in recent years, planned terrorist attacks on this country, some of which we cannot talk about as they are not known to the public. It is therefore difficult to give them the recognition that they deserve. That is the scale and the importance of this crucial work.