Intelligence services

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on the intelligence services. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

DateDescription
25.07.2014The Terrorism Act 2000 Proscribed Organisations
This note describes the recent history and present status of 'proscribed organisations' under anti-terrorism legislation (particularly the Terrorism Act 2000).
16.07.2014The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill
An emergency Bill, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, is due to pass through all its parliamentary stages between 15 and 17 July. The Bill aims to allow police and security agencies to have continued access to communications data in order to combat crime and terrorism. This Note summarises the background, the Bill and criticisms that have been made of it.
29.10.2013The Intelligence and Security Committee
This note describes the functions and powers of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which is responsible for scrutinising the UK's intelligence and security agencies. It also considers proposals to reform the Committee to make its work more transparent.
10.05.2013Communications Data: The draft Bill and recent developments
The draft Communications Data Bill was announced in the Queen's Speech in 2012 and it was published on 14 June 2012. The Bill was subject to pre-legislative scrutiny and some aspects of the Government's proposals were criticised. The Bill was frequently referred to by critics as a 'snooper's charter' and it was not taken forward in the 2012-13 session. New Government proposals on cybercrime were foreshadowed in the 2013 Queen's Speech, but these appear to be more limited than the plans set out in the draft Bill.
17.05.2012Interception of communications
This Note looks at past and present laws regarding the interception of communications and the role of the Interception of Communications Commissioner in overseeing the present regime.

Research Papers

DateDescription
26.02.2013Justice and Security Bill [HL] Committee Stage Report
This paper has been produced following the Committee Stage of the Justice and Security Bill in the House of Commons, which took place between 29 January and 7 February 2013. The Bill, which has proved contentious, was originally introduced in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. It is aimed at modernising and strengthening the oversight of the intelligence and security services and would allow the civil courts to use 'closed material procedures' to hear sensitive evidence in cases that raised national security concerns. It would also preclude the courts from ordering the disclosure of sensitive information in certain circumstances. The Bill was revised significantly in the Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 28 November 2012. Second Reading took place on 18 December 2012. A number of noteworthy and controversial amendments were made to the Bill in Committee.
14.12.2012Justice and Security Bill
This paper has been prepared for the Second Reading of the Justice and Security Bill in the House of Commons, which is due to take place on 18 December 2012. The Bill, which has proved contentious, was originally introduced in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. It is aimed at modernising and strengthening the oversight of the intelligence and security services and would allow the civil courts to use closed material procedures to hear sensitive evidence in cases that raised national security concerns. It would also preclude the courts from ordering the disclosure of sensitive information in certain circumstances. The Bill was revised significantly in the Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 28 November 2012.
08.12.2006The Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill Bill 10 of 2006-07
15.01.2004Civil Contingencies Bill (Bill 14 2003/04)
Civil Contingencies Bill. (Bill 14 2003/04). House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/07.
19.11.2001Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Bill, Parts III and XI:Disclosure and retention of information (Bill 49 of 2001-02)
Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Bill, Parts III and XI:Disclosure and retention of information (Bill 49 of 2001/02). House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/98.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
08.07.2009The Omagh bombing: access to intelligence.
Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
25.02.2010INVESTIGATORY POWERS (S.I., 2010, No. 123)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Covert Human Intelligence Sources: Matters Subject to Legal Privilege) Order ...
24.02.2010INQUIRY INTO EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION
That this House recognises the ruling by the Court of Appeal to publish seven previously omitted paragraphs from the judgment of 21 August 2008 relating to the case of Mr Binyam Mohamed; ...
15.10.2008DISCLOSURE OF OMAGH BOMB INTELLIGENCE MATERIAL
That this House notes with extreme concern the disclosure by the BBC Panorama programme on 14th September that GCHQ possesses recordings of intercept intelligence relating to the 1998 ...
11.06.2008UNAUTHORISED DISCLOSURE OF SECURITY DOCUMENTS
That this House notes the loss of secret papers by a member of the security and intelligence services on a southbound train from Waterloo on 10th June 2008; considers this raises serious ...
14.01.2008DEREK PASQUILL AND THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT 1989
That this House notes the collapse of the case against Derek Pasquill; believes that the law about official secrets should be based on preventing damage to the public interest rather ...

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
14.06.2012Justice and Security Bill [HL] (HL Bill 27 of 2012-13)
This Library Note provides background reading in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Justice and Security Bill on 19 June 2012.

POST Papers

DateDescription
31.05.2013Monitoring Internet Communications
Internet communications are often monitored to investigate criminal activity. Recent attempts to update UK regulation of investigatory powers have generated controversy. This POSTnote explains the use of different internet monitoring methods and discusses the impact of evolving technologies.

Glossary

  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses