Sir John Sawers, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service, has never been one for the shadows.

While he served as political director at the Foreign Office, his influence was unmistakable on almost all areas of policy — indeed he even earned the nickname “Jonny Blue Eyes” for his dashing diplomacy. Read more

When it comes to the inquiry into Britain’s complicity with torture, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

Why, for instance, did David Cameron make the announcement yesterday?

Here’s the spin. Cameron decided to tackle the “stain on Britain’s reputation” and finally draw a line under a costly and debilitating process, in which the government spends years fighting half a dozen cases through the courts.

The truth? The timing, at least, was probably more to do with this ruling from Mr Justice Silber. It is well worth a read.

Silber gives the government until July 9 to publish the highly contentious 2002 and 2004 guidance given to intelligence officers on interrogations.

Funnily enough, that deadline ends on Friday. A remarkable coincidence. Read more