HC Deb 22 February 1988 vol 128 cc15-6
57. Mr. Allen

To ask the Attorney-General what recent consideration has been given to initiating prosecutions in relation to offences concerning alleged attempts to subvert the Government of Lord Wilson; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General

I refer the hon. Member to the Prime Minister's statement of 6 May 1987, in which she said that this matter had been investigated by the then director general of the security service; that no evidence or indication had been found of any plot or conspiracy against Lord Wilson by or within the security service; and that she did not propose to institute any other inquiry into the matter.

Mr. Allen

The Attorney-General will be aware that allegations have been made by a senior former MI5 operative — Mr. Peter Wright — in his book "Spycatcher". Will he now stop his inactivity in this matter, because many people feel that by not having a further inquiry the right hon. and learned Gentleman is condoning the security service acting as the second team, or back stop, to the Conservative party?

The Attorney-General

I do not go along with what the hon. Gentleman has said at all. In matters of this kind it is for the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide what, if any, action is to be taken in the face of any evidence, however presented, relating to the commission of any possible offence.

Mr. Richard Shepherd

Are these not just about the most damaging allegations that can be made about Crown servants—that they tried to destabilise a legally elected Government? For public confidence, is not the best way forward to have an independent inquiry into these matters? We had Lord Franks' inquiry into the conduct of the Falklands war. Surely such an inquiry would lay to rest the public's anxiety, because people would then know that public servants are there to help, not undermine, the country's institutions.

The Attorney-General

That point was made to the Prime Minister — no doubt it was made by my hon. Friend — when she made the statement to which I referred in my original reply. As the ultimate prosecuting authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, I am not responsible for whether there should be public inquiries. The Prime Minister is, and she dealt with the matter fully and to the satisfaction of the House in the answer that she gave in 1987.