The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is the committee of Parliament with statutory responsibility for oversight of the UK Intelligence Community.

Authority

The Committee was established under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, but its powers were reinforced in the Justice and Security Act 2013.

Remit

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.

Membership

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.

Current Inquiries

The Committee is currently conducting Inquiries into:

  • national security issues relating to China;
  • Extreme Right Wing Terrorism;
  • International Partnerships;
  • Cloud technologies; and
  • national security issues relating to Iran.


News

For earlier news items, please select ‘More News’ from the bottom of this page, or ‘News’ from the navigation bar.

12 May 2022

The Committee notes that the Minister for the Cabinet Office has today made a written statement in respect of the appointment of Lord Lebedev to the House of Lords.

The Intelligence and Security Committee had requested information pertaining to Lord Lebedev's appointment. That request was made on a classified basis, in accordance with the Committee's statutory oversight of the intelligence and security agencies under the Justice and Security Act 2013.

It was completely independent of the parliamentary motion passed by the House of Commons on 29 March 2022 - since the ISC is not a Select Committee (notwithstanding its mis-description as such, in the Government's written statement) and its provisions are set down in law.

The information requested was not provided to us by the 28 April deadline mandated by the Committee (so as to align with the Parliamentary deadline). It was received only yesterday and the Committee is therefore not yet in a position to determine whether the information provided is sufficient, whether the response meets the statutory provisions which govern the Intelligence Community's obligations to the Committee, and whether the Committee will have further questions arising.

The Committee is surprised by the statement by the Minister for the Cabinet Office today which links the classified provision of information to the Committee with the entirely separate parliamentary process of the Government's response to the resolution of the House of Commons. So far as the ISC is concerned, at this stage our request for information should have remained a private - and classified - matter of oversight.

The Committee will be making no further comment on the information provided to it at this time.

16:23, 12 May 2022

15 March 2022

Statement on Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement Act) 2022

We welcome today the long-awaited legislation on Economic Crimes.

As the Intelligence and Security Committee made very clear in its 'Russia' report, the UK has been welcoming Russian money for many years with few questions - if any - being asked about the provenance of this considerable wealth. When we sent our report, together with a detailed classified annex, to the Prime Minister over two years ago, we highlighted then that there was an urgent need for the UK Government to disrupt this illicit financial activity, and questioned the efficacy of the measures which were in place.

It is hoped now that this new legislation is at least the first step toward giving the authorities - and in particular the National Crime Agency which leads this effort - the necessary clout and greater powers to ensure the UK is no longer a safe haven for the oligarchy and their enablers.

17:15, 15 March 2022

10 February 2022

The following appeared on the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings record for yesterday (Wednesday 9 February 2022):

10 Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

The House resumed the debate.

Resolved, That Dame Diana Johnson and Mark Pritchard be removed from the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament under Schedule 1 to the Justice and Security Act 2013 and Maria Eagle and Jeremy Wright be appointed to that Committee under section 1 of that Act.

09:55, 10 February 2022

More News