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Sir Maurice Oldfield

Volume 114: debated on Thursday 23 April 1987

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asked the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the recent allegations concerning Sir Maurice Oldfield in relation to the security of the United Kingdom.

Sir Maurice Oldfield became Security Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland in October 1979. Subsequently reports were received which caused his positive vetting clearance to be reviewed. In March 1980, in the course of that review, he made an admission that he had from time to time engaged in homosexual activities. His positive vetting clearance was withdrawn. By this time he was already a sick man; he finally ceased to serve as Security Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland when a successor took over in June 1980; he died in March 1981.There was a lengthy and thorough investigation by the Security Service, which included many interviews with Sir Maurice Oldfield himself, to examine whether there was any reason to suppose that he himself or the interests of the country might have been compromised. The conclusion was that, though his conduct had been a potential risk to security, there was no evidence or reason whatsoever to suggest that security had ever been compromised; indeed, he had contributed notably to a number of security and intelligence successes which would not have been achieved had there been a breach of security. That conclusion stands.The facts of the case were made known to the Security Commission, when it undertook the review of security procedures and practices, including vetting, in the public service which I commissioned in March 1981. In that report the commission dealt with criteria for positive vetting clearances and with the security implications of male homosexuality. I made it clear in my statement on the Security Commission's report, which was presented to Parliament in May 1982 as Cmnd. 8540, that the Government accepted the Security Commission's report and were acting upon its recommendations.