Security forum meets in Downing Street

The security implications of the recession are being examined by a group of experts in Downing Street today.

The national security forum will also look at how competition for energy supply affects national security.

Among those sitting on the advisory body are ex-Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner Peter Clarke, former ambassador to the UN Sir David Manning and ex-GCHQ director Sir David Pepper.

“This group of distinguished people is drawn from the fields of diplomacy, counterterrorism, the police, the military, science, business, economics and law,” Mr Brown said in a written ministerial statement issued this lunchtime.

“Like the strategy itself, the national security forum is part of our unwavering commitment to the safety of all British people.”

The forum’s confidential work forms part of the national security strategy announced by Gordon Brown in March 2008. The interim body formed today will be replaced with one recruited by open competition next year.

Lord West of Spithead, an advisor to Gordon Brown, member of the defence council and former First Sea Lord, will chair the inaugural meeting but will not do so in his capacity as security minister.

“He was asked in his separate capacity as someone with a close interest in security matters,” a Home Office spokesperson said.

Other members of the forum include cultural expert Professor Ziauddin Sardar, BT chairman Sir Michael Rake and former Northern Ireland policing chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan.