§ SIR W. EVANS-GORDON
I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General whether he can inform the House what is the customary procedure under the Official Secrets Act, 1889, by a Government Department in the event of a secret and confidential document, strictly withheld from the public, being disclosed.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir JOHN WALTON, Leeds, S.)
said that there was no customary practice. Some of the Departments had a legal staff and some had not. Where they had a legal staff, and thought proper to institute a prosecution, the solicitor for the Department was instructed to lay the case and the evidence in support of it before the Attorney-General for his consideration. If the Department had no legal staff the 1431 Solicitor to the Treasury took the same course. If the evidence was such as to warrant a prosecution the Attorney-General granted his fiat.