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Intercept Evidence

Volume 712: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009


The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Alan Johnson, has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In her Written Ministerial Statement to the House on 12 February (Official Report, cols 87-88WS), the then Home Secretary (right honourable Jacqui Smith) provided a progress report on the work being undertaken following the publication of the Privy Council review of intercept as evidence in January 2008. I am pleased to be able to provide a further update, and to explain why I have concluded it is right to provide the House with a full report after the Summer Recess.

Since February, detailed work has focused on testing the practical impact and effect of the model developed. This work has been undertaken in concert with experienced independent legal practitioners. The programme is now complete, and work is now in hand to draw the emerging conclusions and test their validity. The Advisory Group of Privy Counsellors—the right honourable Sir John Chilcot, my noble friend the right honourable Lord Archer of Sandwell, the right honourable Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir Alan Beith) and the right honourable Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Michael Howard)—is following this closely. Indeed they also see merit in seeking further advice on key points for, as they noted in their interim report in February, the issues are complex. I know they share my determination to get this right. I should like to thank them for their continuing commitment and invaluable contribution.

I look forward to discussing with them the final conclusions of the programme. I shall then provide a formal report to Parliament on the full findings of the work programme, and the Government’s decision in the light of them, soon after the return following the Summer Recess.