Theresa May
Theresa May was questioned over the CIA torture report by a Home Affairs CommitteeGetty

Theresa May resisted calls for a judge-led inquiry into issues arising from the CIA torture scandal in the United States.

The home secretary insisted the explosive US report contained no evidence that would embroil British agents in allegations of torture.

However, May admitted her view was based upon reading a summary of the Feinstein report – which is around 6,000 pages shorter than the full draft document.

"I'm not aware of any evidence," May told the Home Affairs Committee (HAC). She said the UK intelligence services did "an excellent job day in, day out" and "would not want to be involved" in torture.

"It is important we don't throw away the values which make us different from the terrorists," said May.

The home secretary also denied requesting redactions personally from the US report but admitted the government would seek redactions of details that risked national security.

But May's confidence that Britain's hands are clean of torture failed to failed to dampen calls for a judge-led inquiry to fully examine potential British complicity in areas such as extraordinary rendition of suspects to so-called "black prisons" – where US agents carried out torture.

May insisted the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) was best placed to look into the matter, even after Labour MP Paul Flynn highlighted the heavily delayed Chilcot report as a reason why the government should not be trusted with an inquiry. Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi echoed calls for a judge-led inquiry in to potential complicity.

May rebuffed calls by insisting the ISC's powers had been beefed up to make it capable for dealing with the matter.

One Labour MP not joining his colleagues' calls was Ian Austin, who dismissed fears about UK complicity in CIA torture as "conspiracy theories".

Declaiming the US report, which led to May's appearance before his committee, the home secretary said the document was "partial and created to score party political points and it contains no evidence British agents participated in torture. Strip away the conspiracy theories and [efforts] by liberal hang-wringing journalists, and aren't those the facts?"