Lord Howell highlighted during a debate in the House of Lords on 12 December the unsung work of the intelligence agencies who put themselves at great personal risk to keep the nation and its people safe.
Speaking during the debate on the Intelligence & Security Committee’s (ISC) Annual Report, Lord Howell took the opportunity to further the praise given to the intelligence community by the Foreign Secretary in his speech last month. The agencies defend the UK from threats to our national security and to the lives of British citizens. They provide vital support to British military operations and gather intelligence which gives us a key national advantage in developing foreign and security policy.
A large portion of the debate was taken up by the proposals in the Government’s Green Paper on Justice and Security. These include important reforms to the ISC itself, helping strengthen Parliamentary oversight. They also comprise efforts to ensure courts can examine the full range of evidence available in a civil case, so justice can best be served, while protecting national security interests.
In his closing remark, Lord Howell said:
“The Government’s Justice and Security Green Paper…. has generally been recognised as a very striking and strong contribution to the evolution of thinking in this area. The Government’s aims were set out in the Green Paper. These are: to better equip our courts to pass judgment in cases involving sensitive information; to protect UK national security by preventing damaging disclosure of genuinely national security-sensitive material … and to modernise judicial, independent and parliamentary scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies to improve public confidence that executive power is held fully to account.”
Read the full debate.