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Blears: 'Intelligence agencies should be open and transparent'

Hazel Blears MP Credit: PA Wire

Speaking on behalf of the Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, Hazel Blears MP said that security and intelligence agencies are "not exempt" from openness and transparency.

She said that the ISC report is the first step toward greater transparency after it revealed that the current legal framework is "unnecessarily complicated".

There is a legitimate public expectation of openness and transparency in today's society, and the security and intelligence agencies are not exempt from that.

While we accept that they need to operate in secret if they are to be able to protect us from those who are plotting in secret to harm us, the Government must make every effort to ensure that information is placed in the public domain when it is safe to do so.

This report is an important first step toward greater transparency.

Nevertheless, there is more that could and should be done. This is essential to improve public understanding and retain confidence in the vital work of the intelligence and security Agencies.

– Hazel Blears MP


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Hazel Blears steps down with 'a heavy heart'

Salford and Eccles Labour MP Hazel Blears has announced she is to stand down at the next General Election.

In a statement she said she is stepping down after what will have been 18 years in the role with ‘a heavy heart’.

Mrs Blears said she wants to spend more time with her family, including her mum Dorothy, who has dementia, her dad Arthur, who is his wife’s main carer, and her husband Michael.

She informed her local constituency Labour Party of her decision at its monthly meeting this evening.

Blears 'looked happy' as she arrived at party meeting

ITV News Granada Reports political reporter Daniel Hewitt is outside the meeting of Hazel Blears' local Labour party:

Hazel Blears criticises Government over radicalisation

Labour's MP Hazel Blears has criticised the Government for failing to act at a local level over the radicalisation of young Muslims. Credit: PA

Labour MP Hazel Blears says the Government has failed to to take action at local level to prevent the radicalisation of young Muslims.

The former counter-terrorism minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that she supported Prime Minister David Cameron's creation of a task force to crack down on extremism, but said the coalition Government had focused on policing and security measures rather than supporting integration.

"I actually think it's really important for young people in communities to feel that this is their community and that way you stop the next generation being groomed into extremism," she said. "I think the two things do have a connection."

She said banning extremist preachers' websites was not enough and that young people need to be empowered to say "this is not our religion, this is not our belief".