§ Mr. Speaker
I have a short statement to make to the House. I undertook last Thursday to inquire into the complaints made by the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) about the alteration of Hansard. I have since consulted the Editor of Hansard and have personally examined the original transcripts. As a result of this examination, I am satisfied on two points.
First, the word "always" was indeed used by the Prime Minister in the context to which the right hon. Member for Knutsford referred. Secondly, the omission of the word from the record was due to a simple administrative slip on the part of the staff of the Official Report. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that it was done deliberately or following any intervention.
The two shorthand records of the Prime Minister's words contained two different versions—one including the word "always" and one without it. These two versions should have been checked and reconciled before being printed, but because of an oversight this was not done. I have since taken steps to have the record corrected.
We should all remember the devoted service given to the House by the Hansard staff, often under conditions of great difficulty, and we should be very grateful for the care that they take to record our words in this Chamber.
§ Mr. John Davies
I thank you for going into this matter, Mr. Speaker. I endorse your words on the subject of the Hansard staff, who have always given me the greatest help and consideration.
Naturally, I withdraw any kind of suggestion that the Prime Minister or anyone acting on his behalf sought to intervene on this matter.
The correction to which you have referred leaves the matter of substance 901 enduring, and of course we shall want to pursue that with the Prime Minister in the normal way.