HC Deb 14 March 2001 vol 364 cc636-7W
Mr. Tyrie

To ask the Prime Minister what procedures have been put in place to prevent departmental websites from disseminating material that could be of advantage to the governing party during a general election; and if he will publish them. [152042]

The Prime Minister

Election guidance is routinely issued to all civil servants once an election has been called. The guidance issued prior to the last election covered Government information activity in all its forms. It recognised the need to ensure that, although Departments could properly continue to provide factual explanation of current Government policy, statements and decisions during a campaign, they had to be particularly careful not to become involved in a partisan way in election issues, and to protect departmental systems from serving or appearing to serve a party political purpose. These principles remain unchanged, and guidance for any future general election will build on them to reflect the increasing use of the internet by Government. The guidance will be published when an election is called.