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

I can reassure my right hon. and learned Friend that, far from there being any attempt on behalf of the Government to slip things out under the radar as the summer recess approaches, the Prime Minister has been very clear that she regards it as her responsibility to ensure that the decision is taken and announced to Parliament before she leaves office. It would be understandable if a new Prime Minister on taking office wanted to look again at or acquaint himself with the material that was coming to the present Prime Minister. This decision and its timing are actually designed to ensure that we do not slip anything out under the radar.

I would just say to my right hon and learned Friend that the Government are very clear that officials in our agencies have not been involved in torture and that this Government and previous Governments have been resolute in opposing torture. We are talking about the extent to which it is alleged that there was knowledge of or to some extent complicity in the treatment of detainees held by the authorities in other countries.

In my right hon and learned Friend’s time, a number of significant changes were made, both in internal Government practice and in the law, that I believe have put us in a much better position since his time in office. I agree strongly with him about the need for us when we debate these matters to look forward as well as backwards. That is exactly why I believe it is right that we acquaint the House with Sir Adrian Fulford’s recommendations on the consolidated guidance at the same time as we respond to the obligation to take the decision on a judge-led inquiry and announce it.