FCO secure communications and handling of classified information inquiry launched

09 July 2019

The Foreign Affairs Committee writes to PM, Foreign Secretary and Metropolitan Police seeking robust response to leaks.

The Foreign Affairs Committee is launching an urgent inquiry into the FCO's secure communications and handling of classified information.

In the wake of the publication of the confidential communications from the UK Ambassador to the US, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, has called for a robust response to what he has called a growing ‘culture of leaks’ with implications for the UK.

In letters to the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Mr Tugendhat has called for an immediate inquiry to identify the source of the leak and for criminal investigations by the Metropolitan Police Service into what appears to be a serious criminal act. The letter to the Foreign Secretary lists a series of questions relating to a potential leak inquiry and general issues related to the handling of information by the Foreign Office.

The inquiry will consider:

  • The necessity of secure communications and information handling for the good functioning of the FCO and the impact of leaks on that functioning
  • The steps taken by the FCO to ensure that its information and communications are treated securely
  • Whether the steps taken by the FCO and other Government departments in response to apparent leaks are adequate
  • Whether the classification regime used by the FCO is appropriate
  • Whether the sanctions in place to deter such leaks are effective and fit for purpose.

The Committee anticipates there will be oral evidence sessions before the House rises for summer Recess. Written evidence is welcomed and should be submitted through the Committee’s inquiry pages.

Further information

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