Intelligence and Security Committee

Part of Deferred Divisions – in the House of Commons at 8:25 pm on 13th May 2014.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Conservative, New Forest East 8:25 pm, 13th May 2014

Indeed, Madam Deputy Speaker. If I may, I will just conclude that sentence by saying that I came to the conclusion that it was regarded as a suitable Committee on which to put a troublemaker who could not talk about what the Committee was discussing.

In conclusion, most people think that where highly classified material is concerned—material covered by the Official Secrets Act—some people are better suited than others to be allowed to see it. It is not acceptable or compatible with that for the whole House simply to vote for any Member to be a member of the Committee, because the Committee would not be allowed to continue to receive such material. However, I hold out a smidgeon of hope for the hon. Member for Walsall North in that a case could be made on the basis of the argument that once all the members have been appointed, the objection would fall in relation to the Chairman. Once all the people who are regarded as appropriate to see highly classified information are known, I cannot see why the whole House could not then decide which of those cleared Members should be the Chairman, but perhaps that is for another occasion.