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Palace Of Westminster (Security)

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

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To ask the Lord President of the Council what new arrangements he proposes to improve security in the Palace of Westminster.

It has been the long-standing practice of Leaders of the House not to comment on matters of security within the Palace of Westminster. I can, however, reassure the hon. Gentleman that we regularly keep security matters under review and take all necessary further steps in the light of such reviews.

Will the Lord President urge the security services to concentrate their search for the alleged theft of information from hon. Members on the organisations that regularly spy on hon. Members, including the organisation that last week published a ludicrous volume full of slanders and innuendos about hon. Members? Will the right hon. Gentleman stop the self-defeating, ludicrous, sleazy, muck-raking by the Conservative party's thought police?

If the hon. Gentleman is referring to the document that was recently published by Conservative Central Office—

"Who's Left?". There is no need to have any security inquiry into that document because it uses published, freely available sources. There is no sleaze. It is a document about the Labour party's policy attitudes and it rightly points out that more than half of Labour Members have either recently belonged to or still belong to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. It is an important contribution to discussion and to policy attitudes on important matters.

As the Lord President has successfully demolished the Opposition's spurious arguments, will he get back to real questions of security and take time to pay tribute to all who look after security in the Palace of Westminster? It is a nightmarish and difficult job for them all and sometimes we sound a little bit too critical.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend and I am happy to pay tribute to the security services. They do a good job in the House, under the Serjeant at Arms. It is not an easy task and it depends, for example, on thefts being reported. It does not help when distorted and misleading accusations, often with no foundation, are made by one or two hon. Members.