HL Deb 19 July 1982 vol 433 cc636-7

3.50 p.m.

Lord Elton

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will now repeat a Statement being made in another place by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. The Statement is as follows:

"With permission, Mr. Speaker, I will make a Statement.

"Commander Trestrail, the Queen's Police Officer, has confessed to having a homosexual relationship over a number of years with a male prostitute. He has resigned from the Metropolitan Police.

"I have thought it right to report this to the House at the earliest possible opportunity. I shall make a further announcement in the course of my Statement on Wednesday".

Lord Elwyn-Jones

My Lords, the House will be grateful to the noble Lord for repeating that Statement. May I ask him whether the purpose of making it today, instead of enabling the whole matter to be considered in full context on Wednesday, is to enable Parliament to be informed of this grave development before the matter was reported in the press? I think I hear from the Woolsack confirmation of what I have suggested; I suspected that was the reason. May I therefore assume that on Wednesday this grave matter will be placed in its context in relation to the events which have caused such concern arising in Buckingham Palace? In the meantime, may I ask the Minister to say what the duties of the Queen's Police Officer are and whether there will be an immediate appointment of a successor to the officer named in the Statement?

Lord Wigoder

All I would ask at this stage, my Lords, is whether it is thought there may be security implications in what has been said, because if there are no security implications we on these Benches would find it odd for this matter to be made the subject of a Statement in your Lordships' House at all.

Lord Elton

My Lords, the Statement was made in order that your Lordships and Members of another place should have this information from my right honourable friend and myself and not from another source. The full context of what has taken place will be made apparent, I can confirm, on Wednesday. The duties of the Queen's Police Officer are to be responsible for the personal protection of Her Majesty when she attends public functions at Buckingham Palace and at all times when she is outside the palace. He also supervises the personal protection of all members of the Royal Family. The third point which arises from the noble and learned Lord's question is that Superintendent Hagon has already been appointed the Queen's Police Officer on an acting basis. I think that what I have said will indicate to the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, that the Queen's Police Officer is so closely concerned with her security that this must be a matter for security concern.

Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge

My Lords, we appreciate that it is better that the noble Lord should inform us of this matter than that we should read it in the newspapers, and from this Bench we shall withhold comment until Wednesday.