HC Deb 18 February 1988 vol 127 cc1140-1
9. Mr. Dykes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give an exact date for the publication of his proposals to change the offical secrets legislation.

Mr. Hurd

I hope to lay a White Paper before Parliament in June. At this stage I can give no more precise commitment.

Mr. Dykes

I am grateful for that answer. As the proposals made in the other place by Lord Bethell fit in very well with that putative timetable, will my right hon. Friend please give maximum encouragement to those proposals, bearing in mind that they reflect some of the utterances and expressions of opinion made some weeks ago in this House on the proposals of my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd)?

Mr. Hurd

I note the noble Lord's intentions. The management of business in the other place is, happily, not something for me, but I am sure the noble Lord will also notice the timetable that my hon. Friend has elicited from me.

Mr. Stokes

Although this subject is liable to be a political minefield in view of the legislation that my right hon. Friend is thinking of, will he comfort himself with the thought that this subject is not of great interest to the man in the street, and is of interest mainly to media people and journalists?

Mr. Hurd

My hon. Friend has made that point effectively before, as he has done today. There is much truth in what he says.