Session 2007-08, 25 November 2008

Announcement of New Inquiry

Announcement of New Inquiry

Project CONTEST: The Government’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy

The Home Affairs Committee has today announced the formation of a sub-committee to inquire into counter-terrorism.

The sub-committee’s theme will be scrutiny of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, Project CONTEST. This consists of four major strands - Prevent, Prepare, Protect and Pursue - and the sub-committee will look in particular at three of those strands:

  • Prepare: the first session will look into the working of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office
  • Protect: the second session will look at the preparation of the UK’s infrastructure against terrorist attack, in particular, transport systems and crowded and vulnerable places
  • Pursue: the third session will look at the effectiveness of intelligence fusion centres outside London

Patrick Mercer (Con, Newark) has been appointed as chairman of the sub-committee. Also appointed to the sub-committee were: Karen Buck (Lab, Regent’s Park and Kensington North), David T.C. Davies (Con, Monmouth) and Martin Salter (Lab, Reading West). In addition, Mr Richard Kemp CBE has been named as the sub-committee’s specialist adviser.

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee, said:

“In the aftermath of the July 2005 attacks, it became clear that we were going to be a constant target for terrorist atrocities. The Government rightly put together a security strategy to protect the lives of British citizens, but it is important that the progress of these measures is appraised to ensure that the most that can be done is being done.”

The Committee is seeking written submissions of no more than 2,500 words from interested parties, before it takes oral evidence on this inquiry. Organisations and individuals interested in making written submissions are invited to do so by Friday 16th January 2009. Further advice on making a submission can be found below. 

Oral evidence sessions will be held on Thursdays in January and February: further announcements will be made in due course.


Written evidence should if possible be in Word or rich text format-not PDF format-and sent by e-mail to homeaffcom@parliament.uk. The use of colour and expensive-to-print material, e.g. photographs, should be avoided. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/witness.cfm.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere, though previously published work can be referred to in a submission and submitted as supplementary material. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.

Please bear in mind that the Committee is not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.