HC Deb 27 January 1988 vol 126 c306
13. Mr. Doran

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the costs to the Government of the recent court actions raised in Scotland against The Scotsman and Glasgow Herald newspapers and Scottish Television.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The expenses of the court actions and liability for their payment will be known only once the actions are concluded.

Mr. Doran

From my knowledge of legal expenses, I think we can assume that those expenses will be considerable. The Minister has already criticised certain councillors of all parties who travelled to London last week to give a very useful presentation on the poll tax. Does the Minister not consider that the expenses that will be incurred in these fruitless actions, which are simply intended to prevent any part of the media from criticising or embarrassing the Government, constitute a useless and outrageous waste of public funds?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

No, Sir. I believe that the Government were absolutely entitled to uphold the confidentiality owed to the Crown by present and former members of the security and intelligence services. The Government consider that the action they took was entirely necessary in the circumstances.

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