Theresa May makes Government statement on Anderson Report

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Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has made a statement in the House of Commons following the publishing of the Anderson Report. The report was a comprehensive investigation into the powers of the law enforcements agencies in the UK. It is not yet known whether the Government will implement all of the report’s recommendations.

The text of the statement is below:

“Mr Speaker, with permission, I would like to make a statement on the publication of the Anderson Report and the parliamentary consideration of investigatory powers.

As the House will know, it is this Government’s intention to bring forward legislation relating to the Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies’ use of investigatory powers and to have that legislation enacted before the sunset provision in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 takes effect on 31 December 2016.

In 2014 the Government asked the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, to conduct a review into the operation and regulation of law enforcement and agency investigatory powers, with specific reference to the interception of communications and the separate issue of communications data.

David Anderson has completed that review and this morning My Rt. Hon Friend the Prime Minister made a Written Ministerial Statement to lay that report before the House. The report makes 124 recommendations, covering sensitive intelligence capabilities, and it extends to over 300 pages. Following careful consideration by the Government and Security and Intelligence Agencies, I can confirm that no redactions have been made to the report prior to publication.

And I would like to put on record my – and the Government’s – thanks to David Anderson for his thoroughness and dedication in undertaking this important work.

As the report highlights, there are a range of threats against the UK and its interests, from terrorism, both at home and overseas, to cyber attacks from criminals. Many groups, not just the Government, have a role to play in ensuring the right capabilities are in place to tackle those threats. We will continue to work closely with all partners, including the intelligence agencies, law enforcement and industry, to take all these issues forward and continue to keep us safe from those that would do us harm.

David Anderson’s report is complemented by two further independent reviews in this area. In March, the Intelligence and Security Committee published their Privacy and Security report. This set out a comprehensive review of the intelligence agencies’ capabilities, and the legal and privacy frameworks that govern their use.

And later this summer, a panel coordinated by the Royal United Services Institute, and established by the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Member for Sheffield Hallam, will report on the legality, effectiveness and privacy implications of the UK’s surveillance programmes, and assess how law enforcement and intelligence capability can be maintained in the face of technological change.

These independent reviews are each important and valuable contributions to the continuing debate about the role of our Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies, their use of investigatory powers and their oversight. The Government will need to give proper consideration to their recommendations, but collectively I believe they provide a firm basis for consultation on legislation.

Mr Speaker, I would now like to turn to the Parliamentary handling of this legislation.

The operation and regulation of the investigatory powers used by the police and the intelligence and security agencies is a matter of great importance to the security of this country and I know an issue of great interest to many Members of this House. As David Anderson makes clear, it is imperative that the use of sensitive powers are all overseen and fully declared under arrangements set by Parliament. It is therefore entirely right that Parliament should have the opportunity to debate those arrangements in full.

The Anderson review was undertaken with cross-party support and I believe it provides a sound basis to take this issue forward in the same manner.

In order to ensure that this is the case, the Government will publish a draft bill in the Autumn for pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee of Parliament, with the intention of introducing a Bill early in the New Year. Given the sunset clause in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, the new legislation will need to be in place by the end of December 2016.

I have said many times before that it is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security – including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers and the oversight arrangements that govern them – without also considering the threats that we face as a country. Those threats remain considerable, and they are evolving. They include not just terrorism – from overseas and homegrown in the UK – but also industrial, military and state espionage. They include not just organised criminality, but also the proliferation of once-physical crimes online, such as child sexual exploitation, and the technological challenges that brings. In the face of such threats, we have a duty to ensure that the agencies whose job it is to keep us safe have the powers they need to do the job.

And I would like to finish, Mr Speaker, by paying tribute to the vital work of the men and women of the intelligence and law enforcement community, whose work is not always known, whose successes often go unrecognised, and whose efforts day in and day out are fundamental to keeping everyone in this country safe”.

Chancellor Confirms Government to sell RBS Stake

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George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has confirmed that the Government will sell off its stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

The Government purchased the RBS at 502p per share following the banking crisis and has admitted that it is unlikely to recover the investment which was made. Although a sale could mean a loss of £13 billion on the price paid George Osborne said that a sale now was the right thing to do.

In a speech at the Mansion House in London, the Chancellor said:

“I was not responsible for the bailout of RBS or the price paid then for shares bought by the taxpayer: but I am responsible for getting the best deal now for the taxpayer and doing whatever I can to support the British economy.

There is no doubt that starting to sell the government’s stake in RBS is the right thing to do on both counts”.

Baroness Anelay appointed Prime Minister’s Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

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Baroness Anelay has today been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.

The appointment comes a year after the summit which brought together 120 countries to prevent rape and sexual violence being used in war. The role had previously been co-ordinated by William Hague who retired from the House of Commons at the 2015 General Election. In a statement Baroness Anelay said:

“I am honoured to have been asked to take over from Mr Hague in leading this vital work across government. I look forward to taking our efforts to end the appalling scourge of sexual violence in conflict to the next level.

I am proud of everything the Initiative has achieved in the last three years including the launch of the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict, our support for conflict-affected countries such as the DRC, Iraq and Bosnia and of course the enormously successful Summit last June.

There is still much more to do. I am looking forward to working with civil society, governments, international organisations and survivors to ensure that we drive forward the campaign to end sexual violence in conflict once and for all”.

Tobias Ellwood Condemns Luxor attack

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Tobias Ellwood, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has condemned the suicide attack in Egypt today.

The suicide attack took place outside a Karnak temple in Luxor which is one of the most popular Egyptian tourist sites. There were three men involved in the attack with two being killed and the other seriously wounded. No tourists were killed in the attack although two civilians and two police officers were hurt.

 

In a statement Ellwood said:

“I strongly condemn the appalling terrorist attack today in Luxor in Egypt.

My thoughts are with those injured in this terrible attack. The UK continues to stand with the Egyptian government and people in their fight against terrorist violence”.

David Cameron meets with Prime Minister al-Abadi of Iraq

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David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has met with Prime Minister al-Abadi of Iraq at the G7 summit. A Downing Street spokesman said:

“The Prime Minister met with Prime Minister al-Abadi of Iraq in the margins of the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau. Prime Minister al-Abadi updated the Prime Minister on the situation in Iraq and the fight against ISIL. Prime Minister al-Abadi thanked the Prime Minister for the UK’s support, in particular the additional 125 military trainers, including those specialising in counter-IED.

The Prime Minister said that Britain wanted to continue to work with the Iraqi government to ensure the support matched their needs. The Prime Minister also reiterated his support for Prime Minister al-Abadi’s efforts to build a country where all Iraq’s communities could play a role.

As part of their discussions on ISIL, they also discussed the situation in Syria. They both agreed on the need for a political transition”.

Charles Kennedy, the former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has died

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The family of former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy have confirmed that he died this morning at his home.

Kennedy represented the constituency of Ross, Cromarty and Skye from 1983 until 1997, Ross, Skye and Inverness West from 1997 until 2005 and Ross, Skye and Lochaber from 2010 until his defeat at the 2015 General Election. He served as the Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1999 to 2006 and led the party to its best electoral performance by number of seats at the 2015 General Election.

2015 General Election Results

The Conservative Party have won an unexpected majority in the House of Commons following the voting in the General Election yesterday.

The results were:

Conservative Party David Cameron 11,300,303 (36.9%) 330 (50.8%)
330 / 650
Labour Party Ed Miliband 9,344,328 (30.4%) 232 (35.7%)
232 / 650
UK Independence Party Nigel Farage 3,881,129 (12.6%) 1 (0.2%)
1 / 650
Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg 2,415,888 (7.9%) 8 (1.2%)
8 / 650
Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon 1,454,436 (4.7%) 56 (8.6%)
56 / 650
Green Party of England and Wales Natalie Bennett 1,157,613 (3.8%) 1 (0.2%)
1 / 650
Democratic Unionist Party Peter Robinson 184,260 (0.6%) 8 (1.2%)
8 / 650
Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood 181,694 (0.6%) 3 (0.5%)
3 / 650
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams 176,232 (0.6%) 4 (0.6%)
4 / 650
Ulster Unionist Party Mike Nesbitt 114,935 (0.4%) 2 (0.3%)
2 / 650
Social Democratic & Labour Party Alasdair McDonnell 99,809 (0.3%) 3 (0.5%)
3 / 650
Others N/A 381,053 (1.2%) 2 (0.3%)
2 / 650

Bow Group in turmoil after Benjamin Harris-Quinney revelations

The Bow Group is in turmoil after an interview with Andrew Neil discovered that the group’s chairman, Benjamin Harris-Quinney, wasn’t a member of the Conservative Party.

Harris-Quinney said during the questioning by Andrew Neil, which was broadcast on BBC’s Daily Politics, “why are you asking me about a branch of Conservatives Abroad?” before attempting to shout over the host. Conservatives Abroad said that Harris-Quinney was no longer a member although Harris-Quinney said that because he founded the branch of Conservatives Abroad in Madrid he was the President of it.

Michael Heseltine commented that:

“I think [Andrew Neil] destroyed him … and he is not a member of the party and is actively campaigning in a way which is incompatible with Conservative Party policy”.

Shortly afterwards Michael Heseltine, Norman Lamont, Geoffrey Howe and Nirj Deva issued a statement saying:

“As Patrons of the Bow Group we believe that this country’s best interests are served by voting Conservative in all situations. Ben Harris-Quinney does not speak for us or represent our views”.

Numerous other Bow Group members and Conservative MPs have distanced themselves from Harris-Quinney.

Nick Clegg says Liberal Democrats wouldn’t necessarily oppose an EU referendum

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Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that the party would consider supporting a referendum on British membership of the European Union. He said that the party had red lines which it would not go beyond and although a Liberal Democrat Government wouldn’t call a referendum it would not necessarily oppose one if it was in a coalition with another party.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Clegg said that the party had red lines which it would not go beyond which included NHS spending, education spending and public sector pay. He addied that:We’re going to do a lot better than all that punditry suggests

“We’re going to do a lot better than all that punditry suggests”.

Tom Watson and Liam Byrne condemned for speaking at segregated rally

Tom Watson and Liam Byrne, both standing for re-election as Labour MPs, have refused to comment after it was revealed they had spoken a rally segregated into males and females. Jack Dromey, the wife of Harriet Harman, was also in attendance at the rally.

A Labour Party spokesman said that there was no enforced segregation but a photo appearing after the event showed that male and female members of the audience were sat separately. Tom Watson and Liam Byrne refused to comment when asked for details of why they continued to appear at the rally which took place in Birmingham on 2 May 2015.