HC Deb 28 June 1962 vol 661 cc1355-6
Q5. Mr. S. Silverman

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now ready to move to appoint a select committee or some other form of public inquiry into the scope and working of the Official Secrets Acts, with a view to their clarification and amendment and the prevention of abuses.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Silverman

Has not the right hon. Gentleman on a number of previous occasions undertaken to reconsider his attitude to this question after the disposal of the judicial inquiries then proceeding on appeal to the House of Lords? Does not he realise that the state of the law, as was shown in the discussion in the House of Lords and in the judgments, does call urgently for a public inquiry?

The Prime Minister

I did not undertake to reconsider. I will repeat what I undertook to do: to discuss with my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, when certain appeals have been disposed of, whether action is necessary. The reason I am not yet quite ready to do that is, although the case has been to the House of Lords and although I understand that their Lordships the Law Lords have decided to report to the House of Lords their view that these appeals should be dismissed, certain formalities have not been completed, and the reasons for the dismissal of the appeals and the judgments have not yet been delivered. I think it right that I should wait until that is finished before—as I certainly will do—I carry out my undertaking to the hon. Gentleman.

Forward to