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Official Secrets Act

Volume 929: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which nationalised industries are covered by the requirements of the Official Secrets Act.

Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 applies to information belonging to the Post Office and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, because their employees are deemed by statute to be holders of an office under Her Majesty for this purpose. As explained in Appendix 1 to the Franks Report (p. 113) the position of some other public bodies is unclear. In addition, Section 2 applies to anyone entrusted with official information in confidence and anyone who receives official information knowing or having reasonable ground to believe that the information had been communicated to him in contravention of the 1911 Act. As the hon Member will know from my statement of 22nd November, the Government are proposing to bring before Parliament proposals for reforming Section 2 of the 1911 Act.