HC Deb 15 November 1938 vol 341 c690
67. Mr. Mander

asked the Attorney-General the circumstances in which two Lobby journalists were asked to attend at his office and to reveal the sources of certain information which they had published; under what Act this took place; and whether journalists are liable to be called upon in similar circumstances again?

The Attorney-General (Sir Donald Somervell)

No Lobby journalists have ever been asked by me or by anyone on my behalf to attend at my office for the purpose suggested. Nor is there any record in my Department of Lobby journalists being asked so to attend.

Mr. Mander

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that I was not referring to his period of office, but to some years ago, and will he be good enough to look into the facts again, in which I may perhaps be able to assist him, and give a reply on this important matter to the House later on?

The Attorney-General

I was not aware, from the wording of the hon. Member's question, that he had in mind something which happened years ago. I told him in my answer that the fact is that there is no record in my Department of Lobby journalists being asked so to attend. If the hon. Gentleman will supply me with the evidence which he thinks will be useful for further inquiries, I will certainly consider any communication sent.

Mr. Mander

I will do that.

Mr. Benn

Does the office of the Attorney-General keep a record of the occasions on which permission is given for the Official Secrets Acts to be used?

The Attorney-General

If the Official Secrets Acts are used and proceedings are taken under them, naturally there is a record, but there would not necessarily be a record of every incident that might have happened in which the Official Secrets Acts might have been the relevant Statutes should proceedings have been taken.