Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard to oversee spy network

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard to Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee – meaning he will be overseeing Britain's spy network and counter-terrorism operations.

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard

Members of the committee are nominated by the Prime Minister and approved by Parliament. The Commons will vote on the committee's new membership on July 13.

Mr Pritchard said: "It is a great privilege to be the first Shropshire MP ever to have served on the ISC.

"It is also a huge responsibility to oversee the vital work of our world-leading intelligence agencies at a time of increasing and diverse threats.

"I will not be commenting further on the work of the committee from today."

Each member has to undergo extensive vetting and enhanced security clearance. Members are routinely given access to highly classified material in carrying out their duties and meet in undisclosed locations away from Parliament.

The committee has statutory responsibility for oversight of the UK intelligence agencies and was established under the Intelligence Services Act 1994. Its powers were extended by the Justice and Security Act 2013 and it is the most senior committee for backbench MPs.

The ISC oversees the operations, policies and budgets of MI6, MI5, GCHQ, Defence Intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Organisation, the National Security Secretariat and the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism.

The committee takes evidence from senior ministers, the heads of each of the intelligence and security agencies and works closely with intelligence partners.

Mr Pritchard previously served on the Joint National Security Strategy Committee, NATO Parliamentary Assembly and was previously leader of the UK's delegation to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE.

He is paid £2,074.52 each month for eight hours work as a consultant to the Soufan Group, a global intelligence and security consultancy.

He is also paid £1,500 a month for eight hours work as a consultant at the Consumer Credit Association. The two jobs bring in a combined £42,894 a year income for Mr Pritchard on top his basic MP's salary of £79,468.

From May last year until May this year he was also paid between £1,250 and £4,000 a month for being an adviser and then non-executive chairman and director of PASS Technology Group, a background check software company.

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