Session 2008-09, 16 January 2009

Oral Evidence

Policing process of Home Office leak inquiries

The Home Affairs Committee will hold the first session of its inquiry into the Policing process for Home Office leak inquiries at 11.30 am on Tuesday 20 January, when it will take evidence from Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP, Home Secretary, and Sir David Normington KCB, Permanent Secretary of the Home Office.

The Committee's inquiry is focussing on the way in which the Home Office reacted to the suspected leaks of information and the procedures followed by the Metropolitan Police when they were asked to investigate further.

The Committee will use the opportunity to raise with the Home Secretary three further issues:

€ the draft Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Bill, which was the Home Secretary's response to the Government's defeat in the House of Lords on the 42-day pre-charge detention issue;

€ the Government's intentions in relation to improving accountability of police forces to the public, in the light of the Government's decision to abandon its proposals for directly elections of some members of police authorities; and

€ the Home Office's approach to the use of official statistics.

Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee said:

"Jacqui Smith's appearance will hopefully provide us with a much better understanding of the events leading up to the arrest of Damian Green. We firmly believe that leak inquiries by both the Civil Service and, where necessary, the police should follow clear procedures, so as to achieve the right balance between on the one hand maintaining confidentiality and effective government, and on the other allowing information to be published when it is in the public interest."