HC Deb 22 July 1985 vol 83 cc718-9
46. Mr. Willie W. Hamilton

asked the Attorney-General on how many occasions the Prevention of Corruption Act has been used against a newspaper: and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General

The relevant records do not distinguish between defendants by reference to their occupation or business. One prosecution of a newspaper company for corruption is at present pending, but I know of no previous cases of that kind.

Mr. Hamilton

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that when a newspaper exposes gross extravagance and waste in a Government Department such as the Ministry of Defence, it would be preferable and cheaper to eliminate the waste rather than take that newspaper to court?

The Attorney-General

The essence of the offence of corruption is the use of financial or other inducement to a person to subvert his loyalty to his principal, whether in the public or private sector. In regard to the hon. Gentleman's question, the means, not the end, is objectionable.