Hostile State Activity

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet

What steps he is taking to counter hostile state activity in the UK.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department

Across Government, we are taking a broad range of legislative, diplomatic and operational action to prevent, disrupt and deter hostile state activity.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet

A wonderful opportunity! Scarcely cricket, but a wonderful opportunity.

Following the attempted poisonings in Salisbury, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister took robust action to secure the dismissal from the United Kingdom and other European countries of Russian spies posing as diplomats. There is some reason to suppose that that network is now being rebuilt. Without asking my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to give details of the work of MI5, may I ask him to give us a reassurance that it is very firmly on the case?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department

As my right hon. Friend says, I will not comment on any sensitive intelligence matter, but he is right to be concerned about the rise in hostile state activity. There is ongoing activity across Government to ensure that our democracy is protected. We have taken many steps and co-ordinated them across Government and the relevant authorities. He will also be pleased to know that, now that the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 is on the statute book, it gives us many more powers to counter hostile state activity.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn

The Home Secretary will know that police numbers remain key to hostile state activity prevention. I have still not heard an answer to the question that my right hon. Friend Yvette Cooper posed—how many extra police officers are going to be recruited, and when, to tackle this important issue?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department

When it comes to hostile state activity, it is not that police numbers are unimportant, but actually, the key is intelligence and support for our intelligence services, especially for MI5 and the excellent work that it does.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

I am enormously tickled to see Mr Clarke, the Father of the House, beetle into the Chamber by walking across the Government Front Bench. I suppose that he was so long an habitué of the Treasury Bench that it may seem a perfectly normal means by which to enter the Chamber, but, in any case, we are delighted to see him.

Photo of Kenneth Clarke Kenneth Clarke Father of the House of Commons

I do apologise to the House. It was once the only way that I entered this Chamber.