Thursday 18 July 2019 / 5:08 PM Emily Thornberry / Foreign Policy

Emily Thornberry responds to government’s refusal to commission independent torture and rendition inquiry

Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, responding to the government’s refusal to commission an independent, judge-led inquiry into historic allegations of UK complicity in the torture and rendition of oversees detainees, said:

“I believe it is a fundamental error of judgement that the outgoing Prime Minister has made, not to make good on the commitment of her predecessor David Cameron, not to honour the promises of the former Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, and not to listen to the recommendations of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.

“All of them were absolutely clear that the only way to get to the truth on these issues and learn lessons for the future was for the government to commission an independent and judge-led inquiry with the power and the authority to examine all the evidence, and question every potential witness, and come up with conclusions, by which all future governments would be bound.

“From the outset, there has been a deliberate attitude on this government’s part to circle the wagons, and avoid any judicial scrutiny or public consultation on the past actions of the intelligence services, or the future rules by which they operate. Even though it is the intelligence services themselves whose reputation and morale is damaged most by failing to deal with this scandal.

“And I make a simple point. If the government is so confident that all of the lessons of the past have been learned, that all of the abuses of the past cannot be repeated, and that the new procedures and rules announced today prohibit any breach of UK and international law, then what exactly do they have to fear by allowing a judge to look into this issue, to examine all the evidence, interview all the witnesses, and look at those new procedures and rules, so that he or she can tell the government whether they are right?”