Thank you to all those who have contacted me about the National Security Bill.
I welcome the National Security Bill, which builds on the recommendations of the Intelligence and Security Committee and the Law Commission and delivers long-overdue updates to our current legislation. As threats and technologies have evolved and been exposed, so too have the gaps in the legislative defences necessary to keep our country safe from hostile state threats.
However, I agree that the Bill still poses a series of serious questions. There are measures that I expected to form part of the Bill that are missing, as well as genuine questions about the oversight of the powers within it and the appropriate scrutiny of how and when those powers are used.
I know that concerns have been raised about the impact proposals in the Bill could have on whistleblowers and journalists. The Law Commission, which the Government tasked with reviewing the Official Secrets Act, accepted the need for and proposed creating a public interest defence and establishing a statutory independent commission to ensure adequate protection to public interest disclosures.
The Government has not included these in its Bill. I recognise that these are complex issues but I hope the Government will reconsider these issues as the Bill undergoes further scrutiny in Public Bill Committee.
I will follow any developments closely. Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.