§ Mr. Dalyell
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what advice Ministers received from Sir Ewen Broadbent about the prosecution of Clive Ponting.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's letter of 13 February to the Leader of the Opposition.
§ Mr. Foulkes
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will place in the Library copies of Mr. Clive Ponting's minutes of 4 April 1984 together with his proposed draft reply to the hon. Member for Linlithgow 163W (Mr. Dalyell) and the replies received by Mr. Ponting to his minutes and draft reply from (a) Mr. Garnier, Director of Naval Operations and Trade, (b) Mr. Hoddinott, (for) Director of Naval Warfare and (c) Mr. Pender-Cudlip, Head of D18;
(2) what advice was obtained (a) by Mr. Ponting (b) by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces and (c) by the Secretary of State for Defence concerning the classification of the information contained in the draft reply prepared by Mr. Ponting and circulated on 4 April 1984; and if he will place in the Library copies of any such advice;
(3) what advice was offered by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces concerning the classification of the information contained in the draft reply prepared by Mr. Ponting and circulated by him on 4 April 1984.
§ Mr. Heseltine
I explained to the House in the debate on 18 February, at column 738, that, in the deplorable circumstances in which the Government found themselves it had been decided to reveal advice given to Ministers by officials and where such advice was quoted I would make available the full text to the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and place copies in the Library of the House. The documents requested do not fall into this category and I do not intend to place copies of them in the Library. I assume that the purpose of these questions is to establish that Mr.164W Ponting changed his view about what information could be given to the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) in reply to his letter to me of 19 March between his original submission of 29 March and 12 April. I myself explained this fully in the debate and do not dispute it. Mr. Ponting was the only person who advised me on the classification of his draft reply. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces minuted me to point out that Mr. Ponting's draft was inconsistent with the terms of the letter sent by the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Linlithgow on 12 April, but he did not comment on the classification of the draft. The reasons for the terms of the reply I sent to the hon. Member for Linlithgow on 18 April were also explained in my speech to the House at columns 745–46.