Debates between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Young of Cookham during the 2017-2019 Parliament

Detainee Issues

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Young of Cookham
Thursday 18th July 2019

(4 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Young of Cookham Portrait Lord Young of Cookham
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I mean no disrespect to members of the judiciary, but having a judge-led review does not always lead to closure, which is the case that has been made in this example of a reason for having a judge-led review. In addition to the cost, which I will come to in a moment, there would be a serious diversion of energy and attention by those involved were we to carry out a judge-led review. As for the cost of inquiries, the Saville inquiry cost £192 million, the Chilcot inquiry cost £13 million, and the Gibson inquiry, which was incomplete, cost £2.3 million. My noble friend is right to put on the table the fact that these judge-led reviews have resource implications.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D’Souza (CB)
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My Lords, on Monday we were reminded by the noble Lord, Lord West, that no UK personnel were directly involved in the torture and abuse of detainees, but in view of the 2018 report from the ISC, which revealed that the practice of rendition and the mistreatment of detainees were much more prevalent than we had hitherto known, does the Minister accept that there must therefore be people in the UK, sometimes at very senior level, who were aware of these practices and the mechanisms by which detainees were transferred around the world, and were therefore complicit?

Lord Young of Cookham Portrait Lord Young of Cookham
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The short answer is that I do not know whether there were people who were aware but did not take the appropriate action. One of the recommendations of Sir Adrian’s report is that in future, if you become aware of any mistreatment, you are under an obligation to report it. On her first point, the noble Baroness is absolutely right that the ISC found no evidence of direct maltreatment by our staff. It is right to pay tribute to our intelligence and security staff, who work hard to keep us safe, often in challenging circumstances. I pay tribute to that work but, against the background of the exchanges we have had, it is right that they should be held to the highest possible standards.

Detainee Mistreatment and Rendition

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Young of Cookham
Tuesday 16th July 2019

(4 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Young of Cookham Portrait Lord Young of Cookham
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Because I do not have it. My noble friend will know that there is a process to be gone through. The announcement yesterday was in response to an Urgent Question; it was not planned by the Government. The announcement planned by the Government will take place later this week, as announced by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster yesterday.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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My Lords, at a time when the UK needs to do all it can to boost its reputation for upholding the rule of law, and when it is possible that next week we will have a Prime Minister who has publicly condoned waterboarding, could the Minister reassure the House that any forthcoming Statement will be the result of examination of and statements from all witnesses to these practices?

Lord Young of Cookham Portrait Lord Young of Cookham
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The Government will take all the relevant evidence into account when they announce their decision later this week. As I said, we are clear in opposing torture. The issue in debate is the extent to which it is alleged that there was knowledge of, or complicity in, the treatment of detainees in other countries. It is worth making the point that there is now a robust independent oversight regime that we have introduced over recent years. The changes in the Justice and Security Act 2013 and the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, the changes in the powers of the ISC and the statutory basis for the Investigatory Powers Commissioner have all ensured we have a robust, independent oversight regime, which I think is more transparent than nearly every other country.