HC Deb 09 November 1979 vol 973 c323W
Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those topics on which it is not his practice to answer parliamentary questions; and if he will list any changes in the practice of his Department since 3 May.

Mr. Prior

It is my practice to be as helpful as possible, consistent with the need to protect personal and commercial confidentiality, and security. It is not possible to provide a definitive and exhausive list of questions which I would exceptionally decline to answer other than on grounds of cost—in which I am sure the hon. Member would expect me to consider the expense to the taxpayer nationally and in his constituency. But, by way of an example, I would decline to answer questions seeking information relating to individual firms or persons given in confidence to officers of my Department in the course of discharging their functions. As far as I am aware, there are no changes in practice since 3 May.