asked the Minister for the Civil Service why no copies of Command Paper No. 6768 "Direct Elections to the European Assembly" were available in Her Majesty's Stationery Office in Edinburgh on 1st April 1977, the day of publication; and what steps he is taking to ensure that this does not recur and that all Government publications are simultaneously available at Her Majesty's Stationery Offices throughout the United Kingdom.
Normally parliamentary papers are available only in London on the day of publication and do not reach Government bookshops and booksellers outside London until the following day. Papers are often produced at very short notice and it is physically impossible to distribute them for sale outside London on the same day. Moreover, considerations of parliamentary privilege and the high degree of confidentiality attaching to some papers require special security safeguards.In exceptional circumstances papers may be made available simultaneously in all Government bookshops where no undue security risk is involved. Copies of Cmnd. 6768 "Direct Elections to the European Assembly" were not available in Edinburgh at publication time since no special arrangements were made by the Stationery Office to achieve this.