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Counter-Terrorism Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 9th October 2008.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism) 3:45 pm, 9th October 2008

The amendment states that,

"only information concerning persons under investigation may be disclosed by the security services for the purposes listed".

I think there is a technical defect in the amendment in that it introduces the undefined term "security services". I assume that it was intended to say "intelligence services", although I am not sure.

Perhaps I may give the noble Baroness a short example which might put across what I think she was trying to achieve within this probing amendment and which will show why the amendment is flawed. Let us say that the intelligence services receive creditable intelligence of a threat against a Member of this House and, for the purposes of this example, let us assume that the Member is not under investigation, which I hope is a fair assumption. I imagine that I need not join any more of the dots. The truth of the matter is that the work of the intelligence services is not limited to the investigation of individuals. A great deal of their vital work is the protection of individuals, critical national infrastructure and society, both in part and as a whole at home and abroad. I know that this House in general commends and salutes the work of the services but, as I said, it is not just a matter of investigating individuals. I hope that that example will clarify that and, for those reasons, I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment.