§ Mr. Race
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why his departmental press officer refused to give a copy of the statement on Health Service commercial contractors, after it had been made to the House, to the head of the press office of the National Union of Public Employees; and whether copies had at that time been issued to freelance journalists.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
Copies of ministerial statements are not made available to jounalists before they have been made in Parliament. It would be wrong to do otherwise. All journalists who telephoned the Department's press office before the statement on contracting-out work in the National Health Service was made to Parliament were told this. However, it was explained to them that copies would be available to parliamentary correspondents in the Gallery of the House when the statement was made or could be collected from the Department's headquarters when the statement had been completed at the House.