§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,interference with the telephones of Members of Parliament.I gave you notice of the subject, Mr. Speaker, at 8.45 this morning.
You may recall, Mr. Speaker, that on 31 October 1983, at column 255, I asked the Prime Minister a question about telephone tapping, to which she gave a substantive answer. I believe that the matter is specific because I was telephoned by a distinguished member of the Press Gallery, whose name I gave to the Clerk of the House yesterday, on the subject of the third question to the Attorney-General today which relates to the Law Officer's letter. He volunteered the information that when the telephone behaves very strangely it means that it is being interfered with.
I have further to report that last night at 8 o'clock I was telephoned by someone who purported to be Mr. John Gordon, giving information which obviously came from a very informed source. When I put it to him that that was not his real name and that he had better be very careful, he said, "I understand perfectly well. I have not given my real name because I understand that your telephone is being tampered with."
I would not have raised the matter had it related only to me, but something much more important is involved—the telephone of the Leader of the Opposition. Bluntly, with the whole history of Ponting and the Conqueror diaries, I am used to this. What is more important is the telephone of the Leader of the Opposition. I do not jump to any conclusions as to why newspapers ranging from The Mirror to the Daily Telegraph have asked how information came into the public domain relating to telephone calls between the Leader of the Opposition and Australia. However, I say that this matter deserves a statement from the Government, because the basic question is whether we can be certain that the assurances that were given solemnly by the Prime Minister in 1983 and repeated in another place to my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Jenkins of Putney are valid. Can we be certain that Members of Parliament's telephones are not interfered with? If we cannot be certain of that, let us at least have an explanation of what happened with the telephone of the Leader of the Opposition.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,interference with the telephones of Members of Parliament.I have listened with care to what the hon. Gentleman said about this matter, but I regret that I do not consider it appropriate for discussion under standing Order No. 20. Nevertheless, it is a serious allegation, and I am sure that the whole House will have listened carefully to what he said. I cannot submit his application to the House.