FOREIGN AFFAIRS – TORTURE – 21 February 2008

Dr Julian Lewis: Whilst it is clear that this revelation [of US 'rendition' flights having twice landed en route in the UK] has been volunteered by the Americans, and that presumably the Foreign Secretary would not be making this statement if they had not come forward in an honest way, will he take the opportunity of reminding our American allies of Britain's long record of not using torture in interrogations, even when the very survival of our country was at stake, as in the Second World War? Will he remind them that Sir Robert Thompson, the leading counter-insurgency specialist, wrote:

“There is a very strong temptation ... for government forces to act outside the law ... Not only is this morally wrong, but, over a period, it will create more practical difficulties for a government than it solves.”

This would not be such an issue if it abandoned such practice.

[The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband): That is a helpful quotation, which I have not heard before. Obviously, I understand the spirit behind it. The hon. Gentleman will also recognise that there is a live debate in the United States about this very issue, and about the right way to prosecute the struggle against global terrorism.]