CONSIDERATION OF LORDS AMENDMENTS
Sir Julian Lewis: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend [The Minister for Security (Tom Tugendhat)] – and he is a friend – who I know is saying what he has to say. We know that the memorandum of understanding can be amended as developments in the organisation of Government require it to be amended, but the trouble is that the Prime Minister has been reluctant to amend it and it is not being amended. The reason this amendment was introduced in the other place is to force the Government to do what they should be doing voluntarily.
[The Minister for Security (Tom Tugendhat): As usual, my right hon. Friend makes his point cogently. In reality, the MOU requires amendment because the nature of the Government has changed. He is absolutely right that we need to ensure that the House is able to scrutinise the Government on areas where intelligence and security information is required. I agree that that update needs to be made, but I disagree that this is the place to do it or that it should be done in legislation, for the reasons of flexibility that we have already discussed. I know that he will be making his case powerfully to the Prime Minister, and no doubt to other Ministers, to make sure that the updates required to make sure scrutiny is observed are followed through....]
Sir Julian Lewis: For the record, I think I should say that during her very short tenure the current Prime Minister’s immediate predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss), did offer to come and meet the ISC. I hope that is an example that her successor will follow soon, but we are waiting for a similar commitment to be made.
[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]