29 Jun 2010

Torture inquiry announcement ‘imminent’

An announcement of an inquiry into allegations of complicity in torture by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) now looks imminent.

If it’s not tomorrow (Wednesday) it’s because of a very late change of plan – one permanent secretary told his department this morning that it would come Wednesday in a Commons statement by the prime minister.

This is something William Hague announced in principle a few weeks ago. Since then there has been much debate behind the scenes with the Ministry of Defence reportedly being the most nervous part of the Whitehall jungle, concerned that fingers might be pointed at individuals.

SIS is said to be satisfied that the most critical evidence to the inquiry would be held in private. Anything is better than drawn out processes in the courts as far as they’re concerned.

The government’s hope is that by calling this inquiry early in its life it draws a line under any alleged past complicity and links any past errors to the last government. Tories who have campaigned on this issue for years say it must be chaired by a very senior judge.



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