HC Deb 18 April 1994 vol 241 c361W
Mr. Worthington

To ask the President of the Board of Trade which Ministers in his Department were approached to sign public interest immunity certificates in connection with the Matrix Churchill trial and declined to do so.

Mr. Heseltine

On 29 September 1992, shortly before the Matrix Churchill trial, further DTI documents were discovered which fell within a class for which PII is usually claimed. In the absence of both myself and my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade, the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Consumer Affairs and Small Firms, Baroness Denton, was approached to sign a third DTI PII certificate in this case, following the two that I had signed earlier. She felt that the issue should await the Minister for Trade's return to the office the next day. On 30 September the Minister for Trade was approached to sign the certificate but was unable, in the time available to him, to give the matter the due attention that it demanded. The documents were subsequently mentioned to the court by prosecuting counsel and released to the defence in the light of the decision of the court to order the disclosure of other DTI documents.