Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:21 pm on 16th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 3:21 pm, 16th July 2019

I am not quite sure that the noble Baroness can complain about a sudden Statement when at the beginning of her question she complained about the length of time it has taken to reach a decision. In answer to her first question about whether the Statement will be oral or written, I cannot add to what my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy said yesterday in response to a request from the Speaker that it would be an Oral Statement:

“I will make sure that your comment to that effect is faithfully reported to my colleagues in Cabinet, Mr Speaker”.—[Official Report, Commons, 15/7/19; col. 589.]

I am afraid I cannot add to that.

I understand what the noble Baroness said about the length of time. This is an important and sensitive decision, as are any decisions involving intelligence and security, and requires careful analysis. In the exchange yesterday, my right honourable friend made it clear that,

“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”.—[Official Report, Commons, 15/7/19; cols. 590-91.]

I might need to write to the noble Baroness on the other issues she raised, but Ministers must be involved in any case where an intelligence officer believes a detainee is at risk of mistreatment by a foreign state. The Ministerial Code obliges us to abide by international obligations such as the UN convention on torture and the ECHR.