HC Deb 14 November 1988 vol 140 c739
62. Mr. Winnick

To ask the Attorney-General if he plans to take any legal action regarding the book "The Wilson Plot", by Mr. D. Leigh.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell)

I have no such plans at present.

Mr. Winnick

That is welcome. Is it not the case that much of the material in Mr. Leigh's book would be illegal if the Government's proposals to change the Official Secrets Act went ahead? Does the Solicitor-General not recognise that it is time the security services were subject to full parliamentary scrutiny, all the more so considering what Mr. Leigh has written about some of MI5's activities during the 1960s and 1970s?

The Solicitor-General

As the hon. Gentleman knows, those are matters for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Mr. Aitken

Does my hon. and learned Friend realise that his answer about no activity concerning "The Wilson Plot" will disappoint milions of Big M's fans, because we need a sequel to "Carry on Spycatcher"? Surely my hon. and learned Friend recalls that at the end of that saga almost everyone was richer, the public were delighted and everyone was able to claim victory. Why should "The Wilson Plot" be denied that happy ending? Is M losing his touch? I think that we should be told?

The Solicitor-General

It is all very unfair.

Mr. Buchan

It must he especially disappointing for David Leigh. Has the hon. and learned Gentleman taken this decision because he has accepted the argument that the public interest must come first, or is it that he wishes to prevent the Government from making even bigger fools of themselves than they have in the past couple of years?

The Solicitor-General

There is no evidence in the book in question, as far as we have seen, of any breach of a duty of confidentiality, other than that of Mr. Wright.