New Forest East



[Motion made, and Question proposed,

That Dame Diana Johnson and Mark Pritchard be removed from the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament under Schedule 1 to the Justice and Security Act 2013 and Maria Eagle and Jeremy Wright be appointed to that Committee under section 1 of that Act. – ([The Leader of the House of Commons] Mark Spencer.)]

Dr Julian Lewis: I will not detain the House, but it seems a suitable opportunity just to say a word of thanks to the two members of the Intelligence and Security Committee who are leaving, and a word of welcome to the two who are joining.

The right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson) is well known for the calmness and conscientiousness of her approach to politics, and her good sense and good judgment on all issues to which she turns her hand. Our loss is the Home Affairs Committee’s gain. I felt honour bound to vote for her for that position, even though we knew that we would be losing her services which were much valued on the ISC, but we wish her every success in her new post.

My right hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard) brought his keen enthusiasm for the subjects with which the Committee deals strongly to bear and, as a result, has significantly shaped the make-up of our future programme of study. We are grateful to him for all his contributions.

The fact that we are gaining a former Attorney General, in the shape of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kenilworth and Southam (Jeremy Wright), is particularly apposite, because who better than a former Attorney General to be around to remind both the Government and the agencies of their obligations under the Justice and Security Act 2013? Sometimes those obligations are slightly overlooked, and we look forward to the strength and legal underpinning which his skills will bring to the ISC.

Finally, it is a pleasure to welcome the hon. Member for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle), who entered the House at the same time as I did in 1997. I particularly remember working with her on a cross-party basis on a very moving campaign that she undertook in relation to the tragic loss of the MV Derbyshire with all her crew. This was the largest ship of the British mercantile fleet ever to be lost at sea. As a result of her campaigning, and that of her predecessor in Liverpool, the wreck was eventually discovered and the crew absolved of any blame for the loss that had claimed their lives. It was a pleasure to work with her on a cross-party basis then. I, and I am sure all other members of the Committee, look forward to working with her on a cross-party basis in the future.

With that, Madam Deputy Speaker, I thoroughly endorse the recommendations in the motion.