HC Deb 09 November 1971 vol 825 cc821-3
Q1. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now make a statement about the outcome of the investigations he ordered into security in Government Departments following disclosures in a national newspaper.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

I announced on 17th June measures to safeguard more effectively confidential information in Government Departments. Police inquiries into allegations made in The Guardian on 11th May are still continuing. If, after these inquiries are completed, or after the Vehicle and General tribunal and the Younger Committee have reported, further action appears necessary, it will be taken.

Mr. Huckfield

Will the Prime Minister give his assurance that since the allegations were made the procedures governing the supply of highly confidential information and highly personal information have been tightened up? Will he also give his assurance that when this highly personal information is transferred to computer, not only will the procedures be made even tighter but a code of practice governing personnel will be introduced?

The Prime Minister

I told the House of the more stringent measures which have been taken as a result of our inquiries. I have not had any other cases brought to my notice since then. If the hon. Gentleman has any particular instances he would like me to look at, I am quite prepared to do so. As to the last part of his supplementary question. as the hon. Gentleman knows, this matter is under review, and is also being dealt with by the Younger Committee.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Would it not be more to the point if we had the promised statement from the Leader of the Opposition about his ignorance of the existence of any Soviet spy ring when he was in office?

Mr. Wellbeloved

Will the Prime Minister's review of security provisions also cover liaison between British security forces and the South African Bureau of State Security? Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that residents in the United Kingdom who conform to United Kingdom laws are entitled to the protection of the forces of law and order of this country against attempts by agents of a foreign Power to intimidate or harass them?

The Prime Minister

That, of course, is the right of all citizens of this country. The first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question is not directly related to the matter about which the hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Leslie Huckfield) was questioning me. As I said to the Leader of the Opposition, these matters are not discussed in detail. But I can tell the House that there has been no change whatever in the instructions given on this matter since the present Government came into office in June, 1970.