Detainee Issues - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:11 pm on 18th 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) 4:11 pm, 18th July 2019

I begin by paying tribute to my noble friend who founded and chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition in another place. He has consistently campaigned, in another place and now here, for greater transparency on this subject.

On the UK’s reputation, it is worth quoting what Sir Adrian said in his letter about the posture we have adopted. He says:

“The Consolidated Guidance was drafted and published in 2010. It can fairly be said to have led the field internationally in terms of providing guidance to personnel on intelligence sharing in a manner that protects human rights”.

We want to build on that reputation by implementing the proposals mentioned today.

On the ISC inquiry which my noble friend referred to, I very much regret that it was not possible to find a way for the ISC to conclude its inquiry. The Government’s Memorandum of Understanding with the ISC under the Justice and Security Act 2013 permits the committee to take oral evidence from Ministers, agency heads and senior officials. The committee wanted to take evidence from junior officials, but this is not the usual practice with Select Committees—as a former chair of a Select Committee, my noble friend will know this. We offered senior officials to speak on behalf of more junior ones, but this did not turn out to be acceptable. Having said that, all relevant documentary evidence was provided to the ISC. It took 50 hours of oral evidence and had 40,000 original documents and 30,000 staff hours. I pay tribute to its thoroughness and just have to disagree with my noble friend about his conclusion that, without the further judicial inquiry, this matter remains unresolved.