HC Deb 16 March 1983 vol 39 c236
36. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many civil servants at permanent secretary level who have retired during the past 12 months have been re-employed by the Civil Service on short-term contracts.

The Minister of State, Treasury (Mr. Barney Hayhoe)

One officer at permanent secretary level who has retired within the past year has been re-employed.

Mr. Dalyell

Sir Anthony Parsons. Has the Minister read the distinguished Stevenson memorial lecture that Sir Anthony gave at the London School of Economics, in which he advocated a United Nations presence at trouble spots and UN ambassadors permanently in residence at trouble spots and, by implication, at Port Stanley? Is Sir Anthony "His Mistress's Voice", and what fate would befall permanent secretaries who made such interesting speeches?

Mr. Hayhoe

I can confirm that Sir Anthony Parsons was the permanent secretary involved. The House must share my view that the hon. Gentleman is becoming extremely obsesssive with his curious and ill-judged campaign about the Falklands.

Mr. Dobson

What about the Prime Minister?

Mr. Alan Williams

Will the Minister clarify whether the individual concerned was in the employ of the Government when he made that speech, even if only part-time, and, if so, whether the normal conventions were observed?

Mr. Hayhoe

I would require notice of the right hon. Gentleman's question about the normal conventions. Sir Anthony Parsons was in the post on 1 January 1983 and he has a part-time appointment.

Mr. Spriggs

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) raised a proper question about the Civil Service with the Minister of State, Treasury. His response was a complete refusal to answer the question in parliamentary terms. The Minister gave a personal opinion. Can you, Mr. Speaker, do anything to defend Back-Bench Members from the attitudes of Ministers, who treat us as nothing but scum?

Mr. Speaker

As the House knows, I have no authority over the content of Ministers' replies.