The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is the committee of Parliament with statutory responsibility for oversight of the UK Intelligence Community.
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The Committee was established under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, but its powers were reinforced in the Justice and Security Act 2013.
Under the Justice and Security Act 2013 and the accompanying Memorandum of Understanding (which can be found at Annex A in the Committee’s Annual Report 2013-2014), the ISC oversees the policies, expenditure, administration and operations of MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Defence Intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Organisation, the National Security Secretariat (NSS) and Homeland Security Group.
The Committee sets its own agenda and work programme, taking evidence from Ministers, the Heads of the intelligence and security Agencies, senior officials, experts, and academics as it considers necessary.
The Committee consists of nine Members, drawn from both Houses of Parliament and appointed by Parliament. The Chair of the Committee is elected by its Members. The Members are subject to Section 1(1)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 and are routinely given access to highly classified material in carrying out their duties.
The Committee is currently conducting Inquiries into:
- International Partnerships;
- Cloud technologies; and
- national security issues relating to Iran.
For earlier news items, please select ‘More News’ from the bottom of this page, or ‘News’ from the navigation bar.
14 September 2023
The Government has today laid its response to the Committee’s 'China' Report, as it is obliged to do under the Memorandum of Understanding underpinning the Justice and Security Act 2013. The Committee will now consider the Government’s response to the 78 conclusions and recommendations contained in the Report.
However, the ISC Chairman, the Rt Hon. Sir Julian Lewis, said:
“I welcome this substantial attempt to respond to our Report. However, it is misleading repeatedly to imply - as the Government does - that our findings are outdated. Until two months before publication, we monitored all relevant developments and noted them throughout the Report. This was not difficult to do given the glacial pace at which the Government’s China policy developed.”
12:50, 14 September 2023
8 September 2023
The Rt Hon. Maria Eagle MP has, in accordance with the Justice and Security Act, written today to the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament tendering her resignation from the Committee.
18:54, 8 September 2023
19 July 2023
Rt Hon. Theresa Villiers MP Recusal from ISC Iran Inquiry
The Rt Hon. Theresa Villiers MP has decided to recuse herself from the Intelligence and Security Committee’s Inquiry into national security issues relating to Iran. Ms Villiers regularly makes public statements on Iran and is mindful of the constraints that being involved in the ISC’s Iran Inquiry would place on her ability to continue to do so. Ms Villiers will therefore not be involved in any stage of the Committee's Inquiry. (Any statements Ms Villiers therefore makes on Iran will be personal, rather than as a Member of the ISC.)
09:54, 19 July 2023