HC Deb 06 July 1973 vol 859 cc227-8W
Mr. Harold Wilson

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now publish the report of the Security Commission on the Bingham and Hinchliffe cases.

The Prime Minister

Yes. On 28th July 1972, I announced that I had asked the Security Commission to investigate and report upon the circumstances in which Sub. Lieutenant D. J. Bingham and Mr. L. M. Hinchliffe were charged with offences under the Official Secrets Act, and upon any related failure of departmental security arrangements or neglect of duty, and in the light of the investigation to advise whether any changes in security arrangements were necessary or desirable.

As the introduction to the report makes clear, the commission was unable to complete the process of taking evidence until after the legal proceedings against Mrs. Bingham were complete. Once that inhibition was removed, the commission finished its task quickly, and on 3rd May reported to me that there had been no neglect of duty on the part of individual officers or failure of departmental security arrangements.

The commission did, however, make three suggestions for improving security procedures. As a result of these suggestions, the standing instructions are being amended so as to bring to the attention of all Departments the significance, in a security context, of an individual's financial difficulties, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is arranging to make spot checks on secret and top secret material at diplomatic posts abroad outside as well as during working hours.

Arrangements are also being made for two officials to certify the destruction of any secret and top secret material for the destruction of which it was previously the practice to have only one signature.

Copies of the Security Commission's report, from which certain details have been omitted in the interest of national security, with the agreement of the commission and of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, will be available in the Vote Office this afternoon.

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