National security

The Government believes that its primary responsibility is to ensure national security. We need a coherent approach to national security issues across government, and we will take action to tackle terrorism, and its causes, at home and abroad.

  • We have established a National Security Council and appointed a National Security Adviser.
  • We have commenced a Strategic Defence and Security Review, commissioned and overseen by the National Security Council, with strong Treasury involvement. We will also develop and publish a new National Security Strategy.
  • We will urgently review Control Orders, as part of a wider review of counter-terrorist legislation, measures and programmes. We will seek to find a practical way to allow the use of intercept evidence in court.
  • We will deny public funds to any group that has recently espoused or incited violence or hatred. We will proscribe such organisations, subject to the advice of the police and security and intelligence agencies.
  • We believe that Britain should be able to deport foreign nationals who threaten our security to countries where there are verifiable guarantees that they will not be tortured. We will seek to extend these guarantees to more countries.

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Your comments (31)

  1. Hi

    The National Security programme is a step forward in establishing the importance of adequate protection for UK citizens. Its importance would also be felt in the Commonwealth states as well.

    However, I should state that the programme should not limit to only addressing problems stemming from recently espoused or incited hatred or violence. Would it not be possible that many threats to our security come from deeprooted societal divisions that have been cast in stone and passed on to next generations?

    The programme should very actively seek out all these causes and agents which spread and transmit their malignancy where possible, to wit eradicate and remove them at source .

    As such the existing security institutions and measures should be verifiably strengthened and enhanced to this end.

  2. Wendy Sayer says:

    These are difficult times as the threat we face may be dormant within our communities, waiting to strike and come from the least expected quarter.

    I feel that Britain should be able to deport foreign nationals who threaten our security – full stop. It is illogical that we should continue to accommodate foreign nationals who pose a credible terrorist threat to this country, simply because they “may” face torture if they are deported back to their home countries. So taxpayers have not only to support these people, they have to fund the necessary security in the hope of preventing an attack.

    Put the lives and “Human Rights” of the citizens of the UK over and above those of foreign nationals who would do us harm.

  3. John deakins says:

    I support Wendy Sayer’s last sentence, viz:

    Put the lives and “Human Rights” of the citizens of the UK over and above those of foreign nationals who would do us harm.

    And also Tham Yew Chew Kevin, viz:

    However, I should state that the programme should not limit to only addressing problems stemming from recently espoused or incited hatred or violence. Would it not be possible that many threats to our security come from deeprooted societal divisions that have been cast in stone and passed on to next generations?

  4. Rhoderick Gates says:

    And no pledge not to violate international law for the sake of ‘national security’, which is nothing more than a political propaganda term. Tsk, tsk.

    “We believe that Britain should be able to deport foreign nationals who threaten our security to countries where there are verifiable guarantees that they will not be tortured. We will seek to extend these guarantees to more countries.”

    The UN Conv. on Torture is clear that guarantees can’t be accepted at all; if the country in question is known to practice it the UK is bound not to send someone there whatsoever. Art. 3 clearly states “No State Party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.” Accepting ‘guarantees’ is clearly illegal.

    So either try, imprison or release the suspected criminal in the UK It’s as simple as that.

  5. Bryan Norris says:

    Many of the causes of terrorism is our support for propping up corrupt regimes for access to their fossil fuels when we can power our country 8 times over with native renewables.

    Please confirm air freight will also pay the duty ,airlines are already massively oversubsidised ,with jetfuel not paying the duty all other business pays.
    Mr Osbourne talks of radical change ,this is an immediate priority ,we can no longer afford to subsidise the airline industry by paying for their ful costs.
    1:Levelisation is needed ,the duty is to reflect the environmental damage.
    2:Shipping ,bunker fuel is causing considerable pollution around ports and UK shipping lanes ,risking the UK large fines from the EU ,we have just been given our last chance to clean up ,we could heavily tax emmisions from ships or ports should they raise over a simple threshold and give generous allowances for ships and ports that switch to low or non pollution fuels.In ports & or UK waters LPG/Hydrogen could be used with encouragement to use kites as already succesfully trialled on several ships.
    Tax/duty to apply to imported and export vessels.
    3:Ports to source all their energy from indigenous renewables sources ,like Bristol and Liverpool.
    4: All councils to source 100% indgenous renewable energy for their own needs ,further reducing imports of fossil fuels and making electricity spot prices cheaper.
    5: All councils and Government buildings to go further than the 10:10 commitment and reduce energy use further 20:10 and use onsite renewables at every site.
    6:As per the Canadian model, cancel all road building now ,saving BIllions.
    7: Remove all fossil fuel subsidies ,saving £50 Billion as identified in the Conservative quality of life challenge 2007 coauthored by John Gummer MP and Zac Goldsmith MP.
    Futher detail can be found at or
    Tel: 020 8939 0321
    Fax: 020 8939 0331
    8a: scrap or reform the export credit at Bis for fossil fuel plants ,only British CCS and British Renewables to be funded.
    8b: Robin hood tax to insure against the catastrophic bank faluires that got us in this mess to start with ,with extra 0.5% to invest in a low carbon economy.
    9: ALL ISA’s and Pensions to invest in low risk .low carbon indigenous energy to qualify for low tax exemptions.
    10:Low carbon indigenous bonds for investment in indigenous renewables ,HS2 ,3 and 4 and the Severn Lagoons and fence.
    11:All business waste to acheive 70% recycling.reduction by 2020 ,Local council taxpayers shud not have to pay for the landfill/incineration of commercial waste.
    12:Business Council tax to be reduced for businesses that instal onsite indigenous renewables and reduce demand by 20% ,saving treasury imports of Fossil fuels and maximising remaining exports.
    13: 100% Capital gains/tax to exempted for onsite energy efficiency ,including solid wall insulation ,onsite renewables ,including solar and microwind and grey water storage.
    The UK is the worlds leader in micro and small wind ,entrepenuers that employ thousands ,this exemption would accelerate our native indigenous industry and furthyer reduce costs for all.Allow all generation to be tax free.
    14:Remove red tape on planning for smallwind and Airsource heat pumps as per Solar PV .Permitted development would remove considerable financial and planning burden on British businesses.
    15 :All development to fit grey water storage,110% onsite renewables and code 6 insulation immediately or suffer 50% extra tax.
    16:All landfilled ash (1.5 Million tonnes per power plant ) to qualify for the higher landfill tax ,to encourage reuse/recycling of the ash.
    17: Indigenous Biogas enhanced with 8% hydrogen to be VAT exempt (AD).
    18: V.A.T to be raised to 17.5% for fossil fuel generated electricity to pay for gas storage and for nuclear power only for 5 years to pay for the nuclear decommisiong black hole of £4 billion and towards the deep repository.All homes to have smart meters installed within 2 years.
    Renewables to remain at 5% to encourage investment in the low carbon economy.
    19: All UK Military Radars to be upgraded (£50 million) to unlock vast areas for indigenous renewable energy developments further reducing fossil fuel imports and maximising the remaining exports.Cost to be found from above.
    20: Water bills to be V.A.T taxed at 17.5% ,ring fenced for onsite grey water storage ,AD of sewage ,treatment upgrades, water recycling and water meters.

  6. Security of Electricity Supplies. Vulnerability of Transmission systems to disruption.

    Security of electricity supplies depends on the transmission systems that can not be secured against military or other attack making cities relatively easy to disrupt to cause economic damage.
    A scenario to remove this threat would be to install dual fuel CHP at local utility transformers which can run on natural or biogas with stored oil as the standby fuel.
    An estimated 20,000 of such units would provide 10GW of installed capacity and provide the basis for a low temperture piped heat supply system 70C to 30C that can accept reject heat from any form of thermal power generation. The option was evaluated and reccomended for the UK in Energy Paper 35 but was not evaluated, to my knowledge, by the previous andministration. This option whilst requiring large changes in policy and rules of the game offers significant benfits for UK long term compared to other options totally dependant on electrical transmission systems for all our energy requirments.

  7. Matthew says:

    The Government needs to consider as part of the SDSR whether the UK’s intelligence community, across all departments is correctly configured to deal with current and future situations. As a high priority it should pay close attention to the recent and growing imbalance between the UK’s ability to collect information and its ability to analyse and assess (and therefore understand and put to best use) that information. It should also consider whether new arrangements are required to better direct (rather than simply ‘co-ordinate) the entirety of the UK’s intelligence community (which is larger than just the SIA).

  8. The government should encourage ordinary individuals and families to utilise their home computers and broadband connections to serve internet content. This would create a more distributed web for the UK and would reduce our reliance on internet sites that are centrally stored. In an age of terrorism and information warfare it is right and proper that the people of this country use the technology of the web as it was designed: a fail-safe, distributed system that can withstand attack on parts of it and still function.

  9. james says:

    have you proof that someone living here is a danger then send them home, they know what they are doing, they know the risks, they also know we are stupid. if they commit a crime send them home not prison why should we feed them and give them all home comforts

  10. Paul says:

    The objective for national security must be to ensure that UK citizens maintain the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those wishing to deprive UK citizens of any of these rights must be identified, suppressed and re-educated, and such who are not UK citizens removed permanently from the nation. Again, it is not an acceptable argument that the wish of a minority to plot mayhem and destruction can be tolerated to the point where they can deprive others of their human rights, or in some way cause damage to society. Those people wishing to behave in this manner must understand that society will not stand for it. A strong, determined and effective policy for national security is desired by the great majority of UK citizens and it should not be unduly influenced by inappropriate application of generic and outdated legislation made in different times.

  11. J Walsh says:

    Deportation of known offenders from other countries should be immediate without the right to appeal. Why should our taxes pay for foreign criminals in our jails?

    Anyone inciting violence or hatred who is from another country should be deported without the right ot an expensive appeal.

    The human rights of British citizens to live in security and safety should come first.

  12. Terry says:

    national security could be enhanced by having a, initially, voluntary national security corps which once well established could be compulsory training for the young. Based on the training of army apprentices where they can get responsibility and management training very young. I wrote to Ken Clark QC about this a long tiome ago. 2 or 3 years of basoc military training and training in a large number of things for the young to build self esteam and self reliance with a bit of discipline. would do them a world of good and more employable. They would be available to councils to improve the environment and help the aged and maintenance of council property.

    The more matured unemployed have a big problem Being over 55 with a great deal of experience behind me as a senior manager I am unemplyable as most of the people who interview me are afraid of my experience. They prefer to employ an impressionable youth straight out of university with no experience imagination or forsight. and without a degree from the university of life whom they can pay a pitance. There needs to be some sort of incentive to employ the more mature person in more than a mundane role to take advantage of their experience……. I have so much to offer yet am left on the scrap heap. many more people could work until they are 75 or more. I could run a large company yet I am ashamed and embarrased by the benefit system! perhaps the government should concentrate on employing the mature. One day we may have a 25 year old as a Prime Minister?

  13. MarkC says:

    Defence Procurement needs a serious overhaul, it costs too much and takes far far too long. We have the best armed forces in the world that has a procurement system that may be the worst, it cant go on

  14. ashley says:

    Make all local authorities and associated bodies comply with the HMG Security Policy Framework – I know of several who don’t even have a security policy!

  15. Hassan says:

    Put more CCTV out there and give police and MI5 more rights. Let them go out there and actually arrest the bastards who pose threats to us

  16. Louise says:

    If a foreign national is a threat to the UK security then imprison or deport. Do not let them roam free.
    The right of the innocent Brit should be greater (at least in our own country) than that of anyone who threatens them through terrorism

  17. phil says:

    Protect our borders and keep unwanteds out and there will be no need to have the massive cost both in loss of life and policing those who come into our country under spurious circumstances.
    Prevention is better than cure, stop the terrorists coming in, instead of allowing them acess and the taxpayer having to fund the policing of them and the public sufferring.

  18. Tighten up our Borders, any immigrant , who is a risk should be deported to thier country of original birth……………..
    do away with duel passports…………………………..

  19. Andy W says:

    The UK is a relatively safe country, despite what the media may want us to think. However, as long as people live in fear, then something must be done. Too many times, it seems that the needs of the offender takes primacy over the needs of the victim. Equally, the UK should be at liberty to deport those who actively seek to undermine our security, or plan/incite acts of terrorism in the UK. The concept of collective good should be introduced, whether by derogation from Europe and the UN treaties on the subject, or by allowing disclosure of evidence obtained by other means in a secure court system with intelligent and impartial oversight.

  20. Margaret says:

    How many countries are there where no torture can be guaranteed, for Heaven’s sake? Especially the countries where terrorists come from? if they come here to receive from us and in turn threaten or actually harm us then if they are sent back to their countries and happen to be tortured then it is rather their own fault is it not? Rather, let them know that they face the danger of being deported to torture if they repay us with violence! No owonder they laugh at us.

  21. Richard says:

    Maybe we could learn from countries where “national security” is not such a big issue. I think too that the government shoud think very long and hard about the risks to UK citizens that could arise before embarking on wars or other hostile overseas adventures.

    I grew up in the shadow of nuclear extinction, which was removed not by war but by diplomacy.
    I lived through our UK domestic time of the Irish Troubles which were also resolved more by diplomacy than weapons.

    And now, in my later years, I wonder if our security troubles have to a large extent been triggered by a cavalier lack of concern about our own national security, as our Governments have flexed our muscles overseas in questionable circumstances.

  22. Mark Golding says:

    I believe there is so much fluffy information supporting the idea of ‘DEFENCE’ as an alternative description for ‘War Cabinet’; it sounds so nice and socially acceptable.
    I don’t accept the way the military industrial complex is racing ahead with militarising every living space on the planet and I don’t accept the word ‘Defence’ as an honest and straight forward description for the department that clearly does not have national security as its main concern. National security is compromised the moment troops trample on other people’s land throwing their weight around as if the word ‘Defence’ absolves them from murder. It is compromised for generations to come when the next generation grows up, having been traumatised from seeing their loved ones being blown to pieces by foreign invaders, and eventually enters the mainstream political life of the invader’s corporate businesses and institutions where connections with the armaments industry give them access to Western networks that are supplying arms to both sides of the conflict (Deception – Adrian Levy; Web of Deceit – Mark Curtis and scores of other books the BBC never discuss)
    No, Defence is a euphemism for belligerence.

  23. Neil Richardson says:

    Again, this coupling of ‘hatred’ with ‘violence’ is very problematic. Incitement to violence is clear (e.g. an Islamist might say “Go and kill the infidel”). But hatred is more subjective. If one man says, “I don’t think I want my daughter to enter into a civil partnership” is this ‘incitement to homophobic hatred’. Let’s be honest and realistic about the variety of ethical values in a pluralistic society, and how some people like to cry ‘hate’ every time their values are challenged. Allow use of intercept evidence.

  24. Scott Wright says:

    PULL OUT OF AFGHANISTAN and use the army as a rapid response task force for home grown terror supsects.

    Stop immigration until the honourable, peace loving, integrated majority of migrants in the UK have been separated from the criminals & terrorists living amongst us.

    Change the law so deportation is the ONLY sentence allowed for an immigrant convicted of an offence. We should not be forking out £40,000 a year for a prison place. To do this however we must be out of the EU as the Human Rights brigade would have something to say otherwise. Criminals do not deserve to be referred to as human and certain “rights” under the 1998 act should be deemed removable privileges.

  25. Anne Palmer says:

    Although national security matters generally are the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government and Parliament, some areas of policy covered in this document are the responsibility of devolved administrations and legislatures. In these cases decisions will ultimately be for the devolved institutions concerned. In the European context, the Lisbon Treaty makes it clear that ultimate responsibility for our national security lies with the United Kingdom. (My comments here=if only our National security was ALLOWED to remain with our sovereign Country? What a mess already when NATIONAL SECURITY is no longer NATIONAL because of the devolution brought about in the hurry to have EU REGIONS in this Country, for SCOTLAND IS INDEED ONE REGION OF THE EUROPEN UNION.) For goodness sake please read new Article 188R Lisbon and then read the EU SOFA Directive Official Journal of the EU, C 321/6 dated 31.12.2003.

    As regards National Security, I think you will find that each of the 27 Countries involves with the EU have recently updated their National Security, which eventually will become under the EU.

    This from Mr Gijs de Vries, The first European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, “It is time for me to conclude. The role of the European Union in combating terrorism has grown significantly. Some might say: surprisingly quickly, in view of the highly sensitive nature of the subject – after all, no other issue is more central to national sovereignty than the protection of national security. In the near future the EU’s coordinating responsibilities will be extended further to the protection of critical national infrastructure and civil protection.”

    The Lisbon Treaty does indeed make clear that the ultimate responsibility for our national security lies with the United Kingdom. What the Lisbon Treaty did not make clear was that this would or may come in under a binding EU Directive or EU Law, or the possibility through a ratified and active Lisbon bring forth a new EU Treaty that does not require debates in National Parliaments nor any agreement from those once sovereign independent States.

    Never in the whole of the history of this Country has any foreigner been allowed to have a hand in our NATIONAL SECURITY. At the height of the last war when bombs were falling each and every night on the major City’s of this Country, thousands killed, babies and children among them, it would have been TREASON if any person had given such information away. That person may have been lynched before “due process” could have overtaken them. In fact if any British person had given any information away to “the then enemy” it would have been TREASON and a matter of hanging by the neck until dead.

  26. John Walker says:

    Use the armed services to protect the UK and surrounding seas. This includes keeping out potential terrorists and trouble-makers.
    The armed services should be withdrawn from all foreign countries and used exclusively to protect and defend Britain from all threats.
    Anyone involved in terrorist activity (including inciting others to terrorist acts) should be put in prison ( if a UK citizen) or deported immediately, with no right of appeal, and regardless of any claims that they might be tortured if they leave Britain.

  27. John says:

    We must maintain and upgrade our nuclear defences as well as other defences. This is the primary responsibilty of the State after internal Law and Order. Peace comes through being strong, not weak. Diplomacy ultimately does not win, threat of self defence does!

  28. Ant says:

    Leave the EU then we can restore our borders, stop illegal immigrants and the crime they bring with them. Enforce our sea borders at 100 miles. Shoot terrorists on sight; if they leave the country to attend training camp, don’t let ‘em back in.

  29. ray says:

    Foreign nationals who pose a threat to our security should have a choice of leaving for the country of their birth as a free man or agree to house arrest until such time as they are no longer considered a threat.

  30. Frank Edwards says:

    We need to be able to act as necessary to protect our nation, without HRA interference from europe. Let us deport or control of house arrest or imprison as necessary.
    We need equalisation of extradition terms with the USA, not the one way lap dog Blair agreement.
    We need to hear the PM say publicly that the US has no right to act illegally in the UK.
    Torture should still be illegal but truth drugs used as a normal technique. Tapping and interception of communications, money and materials should be routine as necessary.

  31. Herschel says:

    Terrorism may be a threat, but the knee-jerk legislative reaction of creating laws allowing detention without charge of upto 28 days on suspicion of terrorism is absolutely rediculous! Normally, the limit is a day or two, so why should a police officer be able to decide that a person “may be” a terrorist and should thus be detained for 28 days – it’s scandalous and an insult to the values of freedom in which our Western democracies so heartily believe. Without disrespect to the many victims of terrorism in the UK and abroad, let us not get caught up in our emotions when dealing with terrorism, and create laws in a rational and sensible manner. Thank you.