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Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report 2021-22

Volume 724: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2022

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has today laid before Parliament a report covering the work of the Committee between August 2021 and March 2022. The 2021-22 annual report demonstrates the wide-ranging work of the Committee across a number of important issues. While there have been changes in Government between the final drafting and publication of this report, I reiterate the Government’s gratitude to the Committee for its continued independent oversight and scrutiny of the UK Intelligence Community, and I look forward to working together.

The membership of the Committee has changed during the period covered by the report, and I would like to thank the right hon. Dame Diana Johnson MP and the right hon. Mark Pritchard MP for their work on the Committee, and welcome the new Members, Maria Eagle MP and the right hon. Sir Jeremy Wright MP into the role.

The Government continue to support the Committee on its ongoing inquiries on international partnerships, China, cloud technologies, and Iran, and look forward to seeing the conclusions of the Committee’s subsequent reports. The Government reiterate their thanks to the Committee for its thorough inquiry and detailed report, “Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism”, published on 13 July 2022, and will respond formally in due course.

The Government value the scrutiny the Committee provides through its inquiries, and this oversight is vital in ensuring the public can have confidence that our agencies are operating in full accordance with the law. Protecting the operational capabilities of the agencies and wider intelligence community to ensure the safety and security of our nation remains a critical priority for the Government. We will continue to engage constructively with the Committee to ensure its effective public oversight, in line with its powers as set out in statute, while balancing scrutiny and accountability with the need to protect our operating capabilities.

The Government consider the current memorandum of understanding with the Committee to be sufficient to enable the Committee to conduct its statutory oversight duties to provide effective scrutiny and robust oversight of the agencies and wider intelligence community. The Government note the Committee’s comments regarding the provision of sensitive information to parliamentary Select Committees. There is existing guidance establishing that classification is not a reason for Government to withhold information from parliamentary Committees and there is an agreed process in place to provide sensitive information to any Committee as required.

I would like to again thank the Committee for its work, and I look forward to working with it as it continues its vital oversight duties.