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National Security Adviser

Volume 664: debated on Wednesday 4 September 2019

Q8. I should like to ask a well-behaved Question 8 on the National Security Adviser. For what reasons the roles of Cabinet Secretary and National Security Adviser were merged; and if he will make it his policy to separate those roles. (912216)

As my right hon. Friend is aware, the decision to put the two roles together was taken by my predecessor, although I have a high admiration for the gentleman in question.

I hope that my right hon. Friend is not going to follow every policy adopted by his predecessor. This is one that he should not follow. The Defence Committee needs to take evidence from the National Security Adviser on the failure to anticipate the Iranians’ reaction to the British seizure of a tanker. It is hardly likely, however, that the Cabinet Secretary will come before the Defence Committee, so would it not make sense to have a full-time occupant of the post of National Security Adviser as soon as possible so that Select Committees and the National Security Committee can do our jobs properly?

I think that the role has been very well performed in recent times, but I take my right hon. Friend’s point very humbly and sincerely, and I will ensure that invitations to appear before his Committee are considered in the usual way and that he gets all the satisfaction he desires.