§ 11. Mrs. Gorman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the profits criminals make as a result of the publicity surrounding their case.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Maclean)
The Government deplore any exploitation of criminal activities for financial gain. We have previously considered legal restraints on chequebook journalism, but there are insurmountable practical problems.
§ Mrs. Gorman
My hon. Friend should know that his answer will not go down very well with my law-abiding and tax-paying constituents in Billericay, who pay taxes to help victims through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Does he agree that it is offensive when criminals pocket profits by telling tall tales to tabloids, thus gaining from their ill-gotten actions and badly written memoirs?
§ Mr. Maclean
We all deplore such instances. They are offensive, but we have considered carefully whether a law would be appropriate in this case. There would be tremendous difficulty in framing a law that would effectively deal with it. The utter condemnation of other newspapers when such isolated incidents happen is a good and effective policing mechanism.