HC Deb 08 November 1976 vol 919 cc27-8
40. Mr. Canavan

asked the Attorney-General what has been the total cost to public funds of the prosecutions to date arising out of the affairs of Mr. J. G. L. Poulson.

41. Mr. Skinner

asked the Attorney-General what has been the total cost to public funds to date of the various prosecutions arising out of the affairs of Mr. J. G. L. Poulson.

The Attorney-General (Mr. S. C. Silkin)

The total cost of prosecutions cannot yet be ascertained. It would certainly not be less than £126,000.

Mr. Canavan

In view of the public expenditure involved and the general public interest in this affair, are not the public entitled to know whether there are grounds for any further prosecutions? The public are likely to see the setting up of a private parliamentary Select Committee as a mere whitewashing attempt. I urge the Government to set up a public inquiry to investigate every aspect of the Poulson affair.

The Attorney-General

There has been a debate on this matter and the whole House has had the opportunity to discuss it. I do not think that the course of action which my hon. Friend recommends would be particularly profitable.

Mr. Adley

In view of the allegations of human usury at British Leyland at Castle Bromwich, will the Attorney-General have an investigation into this situation? There is double cause for concern here because not only are there the allegations of bribery but there is a frightening situation in which no greased palms equals no jobs.

The Attorney-General

That is another question.

Mr. Skinner

Is my right hon and learned Friend aware that the answer to the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) in respect of the allegations he has just made is that if there is any truth in the matter, which I doubt, the net result would be that those involved would be brought before an open court and tried in the way in which Members of Parliament should be tried? Will my right hon. and learned Friend give a pledge this afternoon, in concert with the Prime Minister's remarks a fortnight ago, that we must look to the future and that Members of Parliament should be subjected to the same kind of legislation as people outside? Will he bring in a Bill to ensure that this is done?

The Attorney-General

My hon. Friend knows that I cannot give that pledge, nor can I bring such a Bill before Parliament. The Prime Minister has told the House that the recommendations of the Salmon Commission asking the House to consider this matter will be gone into.

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