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Official Secrets Acts

Volume 480: debated on Monday 13 November 1950

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asked the Prime Minister what is the normal practice in regard to security when a man who has been for some years in the employment of a Government Department, with access to top secret information, and is about to leave that Department, is found to have Communist inclinations or relationships.

All Government servants are subject to the provisions of the Official Secrets Acts, which apply not only during the period of employment but after employment has ceased.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the implication of some of the recent answers of the Minister of Supply about Professor Pontecorvo was that the Ministry of Supply had lost interest in him because he was about to leave the Ministry and go to a university town?

I do not think that it is a fair implication. When any civil servant in an important or secret post leaves, the provisions of the Official Secrets Acts are always brought prominently to his notice.

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that when this directive is being applied, the word "relationships" is used to mean the man's own personal connections and relationships with other people and not the opinions of his relatives abroad?