Peter Gill calls for the parliamentary intelligence and security committee to be reconstituted
Ian Cobain (How Britain did Gaddafi’s dirty work, 9 November) reminds us of the structural inadequacy of parliamentary oversight of intelligence. In July 2010 the prime minister, arguing that an investigation by the intelligence and security committee (ISC) into allegations of the involvement of UK security and intelligence agencies in rendition and torture would not have public confidence, established a judge-led inquiry to examine these claims. This was suspended in January 2012 when the police announced a criminal investigation into what had been exposed by the documents found in Tripoli after Gaddafi’s overthrow. But the inquiry did list 27 questions that needed further investigation.
Despite his earlier comment, David Cameron passed these to the ISC for investigation in June 2014. The staff of the ISC has been boosted since 2013 and there are now seven officials working just on this investigation, but there is still no report. Indeed, five months after the election, the ISC has not even been reconstituted. When there is also public concern about the effectiveness or otherwise of counter-terrorism operations this year, the ISC should be immediately reconstituted and properly resourced in order to end these serial delays. Otherwise the whole notion of parliamentary oversight may fall into disrepute.
Honorary visiting fellow, University of Leicester