HC Deb 31 January 1983 vol 36 c7W
Mr. Latham

asked the Prime Minister whether, following the publication of the Franks report, she will now make a statement on her future practice in answering parliamentary questions about Committees of the Cabinet and their proceedings.

The Prime Minister

Annex B to the Franks report included certain information about the membership, attendance and meetings of the Defence and Overseas Policy Committee, the establishment of which I reported to the House in answer to a question by the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, East (Mr. Thomas) on 24 May 1979, and about the membership of the Joint Intelligence Committee.

As I indicated to the House in my statement on 18 January, the Government accepted that certain information of a kind which would not otherwise be divulged was included in the report and was essential to a full understanding of the matters into which the Franks committee was asked to inquire, and agreed that on this occasion the normal rules on what is said publicly and in Parliament on these matters should be waived.

That does not invalidate the reasons for the practice that has otherwise always been followed on these matters, and in answering parliamentary questions I do not propose to add to my earlier replies to questions on these matters and what I said about the chairmanship of the Joint Intelligence Committee in my speech in the House on 25 January.