HC Deb 12 December 1977 vol 941 c10
9. Mr. Warren

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many applications he has received to date seeking the release of information which the Civil Aviation Authority considers itself unable to supply by reason of the Official Secrets Act.

Mr. Clinton Davis

None, but in four cases I have been asked to permit or direct disclosures of information under Section 36 of the Civil Aviation Act 1971. I did so in three cases and the fourth is at present under consideration.

Mr. Warren

I thank the Minister for his reply, but will he bear in mind that under the Civil Aviation Act 1971 the Civil Aviation Authority is defined as neither servant nor agent of the Crown? Therefore, what authority has the CAA to invoke the Official Secrets Act?

Mr. Davis

The hon. Gentleman, when he served on the Committee, raised no question concerning the relevant clause at that time. If he consults the Act, he will find that his interpretation of the position is clearly wrong and that, in fact, Section 61 applies.

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