Skip to main content

Official Information

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received on the subject of the supply of official information to the public since the publication of the White Paper on official secrets on 19th July.

Assuming that my hon. Friend is referring to written representations, the answer is six as of:31st July.

Is my right hon Friend aware that the form of the White Paper has caused very great problems in regard to the difference between what we promised at the last General Election about open government and what the Government now seem willing to do? May I ask him a little more about paragraph 49 of the White Paper, in which a detailed study about official information is mentioned? When will the study start, and when does he expect it to be completed?

With regard to manifesto commitments, if my hon. Friend examines that matter he will find that the vast majority have been carried out.

This is a most complicated matter. Even if one had moved more quickly, the chances of getting it on to the statute book would not have been very high.

We said in paragraph 49 of the White Paper what we proposed to do. We are now moving on that. I cannot give a date as to when it will appear. However, I put it to my hon. Friend that, although the experience abroad is valuable to us, whatever we do we must relate to the experience of this country and we must not simply paste into the statute book something which has been done in different circumstances abroad.