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Security Services

Volume 164: debated on Monday 8 January 1990

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28.

To ask the Attorney-General if he was consulted over the publication of the book relating to the security services written by Mr. John Day.

I understand that Mr. Day, in accordance with his duty, sought and obtained authority to publish his book.

Will not Mr. John Day, who is a former senior official of M15, recommend in his book independent oversight of the security services along lines that have been repeatedly rejected by the Government? Is the Attorney-General aware that we should at least be pleased that, unlike the Wright farce, there will be no objection to Mr. Day publishing his book, and that hence there will be a considerable saving to public funds?

I have not read Mr. Day's book, but any question on the oversight of the security services should be put to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary. I take issue with the hon. Gentleman's description of the proceedings brought by the Government on the publication of Mr. Wright's book, "Spycatcher". I recommend that he reads a note written by Professor Birks of Oxford university in the current edition of the Law Quarterly Review, in which he describes the "battle", as he put it, to suppress the book as one in which the Government were victorious on all points of principle.