HC Deb 19 July 1982 vol 28 cc21-2 3.30 pm
The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. William Whitelaw)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I will make a statement. Commander Trestrail, the Queen's police officer, has confessed to having a homosexual relationship over a number of years with a male prostitute. He has resigned from the Metropolitan Police.

I have thought it right to report this to the House at the earliest possible opportunity. I shall make a further announcement in the course of my statement on Wednesday.

Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)

I thank the Home Secretary for reporting these facts to the House at the first opportunity. I can imagine the difficulties involved in making such a statement, but I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman was right to give the House his authoritive account of these events rather than allow the story to be told by leaks, half-truths and innuendo. I am sure that my right hon. and hon. Friends will wish to await the right hon. Gentleman's statement on Wednesday before taking up wider security matters at the Palace.

Mr. Whitelaw

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his comments. I have made it clear throughout that it is my duty to the House to report everything to it at the earliest possible opportunity that I can find. This I have done on every occasion, and this I will continue to do.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. I propose to call two more hon. Members from each side of the House on this limited statement. When I have called those four hon. Members, we shall move on to the next statement.

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)

Are we to assume that this information was not known to the Security Service till now? Does that mean that no positive vetting was carried out on the commander, or that there was a positive vetting which failed to reveal these facts?

Mr. Whitelaw

He was positively vetted.

Mr. Jonathan Aitken (Thanet, East)

Will this aspect of security lapses surrounding the Queen's security be covered by the Dellow report, bearing in mind that some reports say that it is already in the hands of those in authority?

Mr. Whitelaw

All these matters will be covered by my statement on Wednesday, which will include the Dellow report and every other matter that comes before me.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his statement. Can he tell us what the functions of the Queen's police officer are and whether these incidents came to light only when the inquiries into the breach of security at the Palace were taking place, or were they separate from that?

Mr. Whitelaw

They were separate from that. The duties of the Queen's police officer are to protect the Queen outside the Palace and on all her outside visits.

Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson (New Forest)

Will my right hon. Friend tell the House how long these facts have been known to him?

Mr. Whitelaw

Since 9.15 am.