Detainee Mistreatment: Judge-Led Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:41 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 3:41 pm, 15th July 2019

As my right hon. and learned Friend indicates, this issue has a lengthy history. It was in July 2010 that Prime Minister Cameron announced Sir Peter Gibson’s inquiry into allegations that the United Kingdom had been implicated in the improper treatment of detainees held by other countries in the aftermath of 9/11.

In December 2013, the Government published Sir Peter’s preparatory work and asked the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament to follow up on the themes and issues which that work had identified, to take further evidence and to make a report. At the same time, the Government said that they would:

“take a final view as to whether a further judicial inquiry still remains necessary to add any further information of value to future policy making and the national interest.”—[Official Report, 19 December 2013;
Vol. 572, c. 916.]

In June last year, the Intelligence and Security Committee, its work having been interrupted by two general elections and the task of reconstituting the Committee after those elections, published two reports: “Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition: 2001-2010” and “Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition: Current Issues”.

In response to an urgent question from my right hon. and learned Friend on 2 July last year, the Minister for Europe and the Americas, my right hon. Friend Sir Alan Duncan, said that, in responding to the ISC reports, the Government would:

“give careful consideration to the calls for another judge-led inquiry and will update the House”.—[Official Report, 2 July 2018;
Vol. 644, c. 26.]

The Government responded formally to the ISC on 22 November last year, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in a written statement, said:

“The Government continues to give serious consideration to the examination of detainee issues and whether any more lessons can be learned and, if so, how.”

That serious consideration has included the question of a further judge-led inquiry.

As the House will understand, this has been complex work, which has involved some of the most sensitive security issues. I confirm to the House today that the Government will make a definitive statement setting out their decision about a judge-led inquiry later this week and, at the same time, we will announce to the House our response to Sir Adrian Fulford’s recommendations on the consolidated guidance.