Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:38 am on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield 11:38 am, 18th July 2019

I welcome much of what my right hon. Friend has said, and the Intelligence and Security Committee greatly welcomes what he said about the consolidated guidance. It has said since 2010 that the title “guidance” is itself misleading. It is not guidance, but a framework which sets the boundaries, and we are pleased that the Government have now openly acknowledged that. We are also pleased that the principles reflect the important changes that we recommended, including specific reference to extraordinary rendition alongside torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the application of the principles to joint units and non-state actors, and regular review—which is of the utmost importance, because it had not been taking place regularly in the past. We are also pleased that the agencies must follow the spirit of the principles, not just the letter. All those are, in our view, major steps forward. I greatly welcome them, and thank the Government for their positive response.

The second issue concerns the inquiry into what happened during the period which has given rise to the disquiet expressed in the House and elsewhere. When the ISC was asked to carry out an inquiry, we were assured that we would have access to all the evidence that we needed in order to complete it, and thus to provide the necessary public assurance to bring closure to this matter. However, as my right hon. Friend well knows, we were unfortunately denied access to certain individuals who would have given oral evidence before us, and we therefore concluded that we must bring our inquiry to an end and publish the material that we had. A judge-led inquiry would undoubtedly have presented another opportunity for that full transparency.

Leaving aside policy or legal reasons, the one point that I would make to my right hon. Friend is that even when problems have been remedied, there is sometimes a good policy reason for bringing about closure. The simple question that I pose to him is whether the decision that has been taken will enable that closure to take place.