Detainee Issues - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:59 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Collins of Highbury Lord Collins of Highbury Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development) 3:59 pm, 18th July 2019

My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement. It is extremely disappointing that the Government failed to implement the Intelligence and Security Committee’s recommendations to commission an independent and judge-led inquiry, especially in the light of the comments by the UN Committee Against Torture, which has called on the UK to,

“establish without further delay an inquiry on alleged acts of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held overseas … by, at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of British officials”.

We must remember that at the heart of the historical allegations of torture and rendition lie the stories of dozens of victims of this abuse, many of them innocent of any crime.

In the other place, David Lidington said that the Government did listen to the ISC and that the new principles reflected in many detailed aspects the precise recommendations of the committee in its two reports of 2018. So, if the Government are so confident that all the lessons of the past have been learned and that the abuses of the past cannot be repeated, what exactly do they have to fear by allowing a judge to look into this issue to examine all the evidence, interview all the witnesses and look at the new procedures and rules so that he or she can tell the Government whether they are right?

I turn to the new guidelines published today. I welcome the fact that they have been published, but I am concerned that the input of civil society might not have been fully considered. On this point, David Lidington said that Sir Adrian, in the course of his review, took great care to consult civil society. He convened meetings where representatives of civil society could make their representations to him and put forward their ideas. Is the Minister willing to say this afternoon exactly what Sir Adrian chose not to reflect from particular civil society organisations in his final report and recommendations? This process needs full transparency and open examination of all the issues, and that is why it is so important to have a full inquiry.