New Clause 1 - Report on the Prime Minister’s engagement with the Intelligence and Security Committee

Part of Investigatory Powers (Amendment)Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons am 7:00 pm ar 25 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Llafur, North Durham 7:00, 25 Mawrth 2024

Victory at last—there is such power in changing one word. The Minister has given a solemn undertaking on the Floor of the House that the code of practice will change the word “should” to “will”. A small victory for the ISC, but I am sure my colleagues will take it in the spirit in which it is offered. I say to the Minister gently that we could have agreed that the other day when we met, but no doubt the issue that we will be voting on tonight was concentrating his mind.

With that great victory under my belt and those of the members of the ISC, I turn to other amendments. New clause 3, in the name of the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden, deals with

“cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”.

I understand why he has proposed the new clause. It is always worthwhile debating the issues, which run through the entire Bill. Am I assured that there are processes in place that protect our civil liberties? Yes, I am. However, there are occasions when things can go wrong or people ignore them. I think they have been strengthened greatly, but the right hon. Gentleman refers to an important point. I was on the Committee in 2017 when we did the inquiry into detention and rendition. That took a long time, but it was a good report given where it got to. It unearthed things that were not pleasant but had been done in our names as a democracy.

One conclusion the Committee came to was that in its view the UK tolerated actions and took others that were regarded as inexcusable. Well, they were inexcusable, because as the report outlined, we passed on information to allies who then used it. I think things have changed, and to give Members an example of how the ISC can improve things, we called for a review of the consolidated guidance surrounding the way that security operatives should operate regarding issues of rendition or torture. That led to the Fulford principles, which I think have moved on and tightened up the rules and guidance for members of our security services. That was a big movement forward.

I do not think the right hon. Member for Haltemprice and Howden will push the new clause to a vote, but it reinforces the point that if we have a situation whereby, again, we get information that is passed to one of our allies, we must ensure that those principles are upheld. Am I confident that they are upheld now? I think I am, but how did we get to that pretty damning report in 2017? We got there because those principles and the guidance in place were not followed. We must be vigilant about that, and over the years the right hon. Gentleman has done not only this House but the country a service through his tenacity on these subjects.