CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'CORBYN DOESN’T NEED PRIVY COUNCIL FOR SECRET ACCESS'

Sunday Times – 25 October 2015

Andrew Marr suggests that Jeremy Corbyn will have to join the Privy Council if he wishes to see highly classified information gathered by our security and intelligence agencies ("Your most disobedient servant, Ma'am", News Review, last week). As a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) with access to such material between 2010 and 2015, I know this to be incorrect.

Although most ISC members during that period were Privy Councillors by virtue of being former senior ministers or civil servants, two of us were not. We nevertheless scrutinised numerous top-secret documents for more than four years before being appointed to the Privy Council at the end of our ISC term.

There may be good reasons for withholding classified information from certain politicians, but – judging from our experience – non-membership of the Privy Council is not one of them.

(Rt Hon) Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA