COMMONS

Committee summons Intelligence Services Commissioner to give evidence on counter-terrorism

27 February 2014

Committee summons Intelligence Services Commissioner to give evidence on counter-terrorism

An Order summoning Rt Hon Sir Mark Waller, The Intelligence Services Commissioner, to appear before the Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday 18 March was served at his offices at midday today, Thursday 27 February.

Sir Mark had previously declined to attend in response to an invitation from the Committee. The Committee agreed without division, at its meeting on 25 February, to order him to attend.

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Committee Chair, said:

“The Intelligence Services Commissioner plays a vital role in keeping under review the way in which the Home Secretary and the intelligence services use the powers which they have been granted by Parliament. This function was conferred on the  Commissioner by Act of Parliament, and Sir Mark must be accountable to Parliament for the way in which he carries it out.

Both the Information Commissioner and the Interception of Communications Commissioner have accepted invitations to give evidence to the Committee in the last few weeks. We do not see why the Intelligence Services Commissioner should be any different and the Committee was disappointed by his refusal to attend.

Sir Mark has referred us to his published Report (PDF). While the information in this Report is useful to the Committee, effective Parliamentary scrutiny requires the opportunity to ask questions and receive full answers.

We have therefore taken the unusual step of summoning Sir Mark. This happens only very rarely, where an essential witness declines to appear in response to an invitation. Indeed, it is the only time that this Committee has summoned a witness in this Parliament.”

Further information

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