Sir Julian Lewis: I do not wish to be disobliging to my right hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), who succeeded me as Chairman of the Defence Committee, but I feel it necessary to ask the Minister to clarify beyond any doubt or confusion that matters relating to defence intelligence – like those relating to the intelligence roles of other Departments – do not fall within the ambit of the departmental Select Committee, but should, and rightly do, fall within the ambit of the Intelligence and Security Committee. My right hon. Friend was courteous enough to let me know that he had been granted this urgent question after it had been granted. Had he asked before applying, I would have advised him, first, that it was not within the remit of the Defence Committee to seek information on this matter, and secondly, as the Minister’s replies have indicated, that it would be very unwise, particularly at this early stage, to discuss the implications of such a leak in public. Will the Minister confirm that, in any future questions and answers about defence intelligence, he will address his answers to the appropriate Committee, which is the Intelligence and Security Committee?
[Mr Speaker: May I just help a little bit? I granted the UQ not because the right hon. Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood) is the Chairman of the Defence Committee, but because I thought it was appropriate, so we do not need to level it in that way.
The Minister for Armed Forces (James Heappey): Thank you very much indeed, Mr Speaker; I value the friendship and counsel of both the current and the previous Select Committee Chair, so I think that you have said it all.
Mr Speaker: I call the SNP spokesperson.
Owen Thompson: I will be equally brief. There are clearly serious issues to consider here, and it is very important that we avoid speculation, particularly because, as I understand it, this case is sub judice in the US. No doubt our intelligence community is working hard with its partners to review the implications and will report to the ISC. I do not want to prejudge anything, but to echo the comments of the right hon. Member for New Forest East (Sir Julian Lewis), can the Minister confirm that he will work closely with the ISC to ensure that we are fully able to consider any outcomes of this investigation?
James Heappey: I note the concern of the hon. Gentleman and of my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East, the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. We will ensure that any matters that can be exposed to them relating to this are exposed.]