HC Deb 30 January 1963 vol 670 cc918-9
15. Mr. Abse

asked the Minister of Defence whether he is aware of public concern that secret documents are being left in desks and filing cabinets sold to private purchasers; what steps are being taken to ensure that confidential and secret defence documents of his Department are removed from office equipment offered for sale to the public; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Thorneycroft

Surplus furniture released for disposal by my Department is always thoroughly searched beforehand.

Mr. Abse

From the cursory glance at newspapers which he told the House a little while ago that he makes, is the Minister aware that documents have been found at Kidbrooke and Wolverhampton which clearly revealed that secret documents were coming into the hands of the public? Surely the right hon. Gentleman must be aware of these facts. If so, is he also aware of the considerable public concern that, despite the alleged security arrangements which are supposed to be in existence, documents of this character can be freely disclosed to the public?

Mr. Thorneycroft

A glance at the Order Paper will reveal that there is a later Question on this subject.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, arising out of recent events, there are allegations of a great deal of carelessness in Departments in not locking up documents securely at night and leaving them visible with the possibility of their being examined by all sorts of unofficial people?

Mr. Thorneycroft

That is a rather different Question from that on the Order Paper.