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Disclosure of Information

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Ministers in his Department were told that senior officials in his Department believed that the leaking of documents by Mr. Derek Pasquill had helped to provoke a constructive debate. (179251)

It has never been the view of senior officials that the leaking of documents by Mr. Pasquill helped provoke a constructive debate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department made of the harm caused to international relations by Mr. Derek Pasquill's disclosures before the decision was taken to prosecute him. (179252)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provided a witness statement to the police setting out our considered assessment of the damage caused, by the disclosures, to international relations under Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act 1989.

The statement was given by a senior FCO official on behalf of the Department, but FCO Ministers were briefed on its contents.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Ministers in his Department made to (a) the Crown Prosecution Service and (b) law officers in respect of the decision to prosecute Mr. Derek Pasquill under the Official Secrets Act 1989. (179253)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers made no representation to the Crown Prosecution Service or law officers in respect of their decision to prosecute.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the classification was of the documents disclosed by Mr. Derek Pasquill which fell within the meaning of the Official Secrets Act 1989. (179254)

The documents disclosed by Mr. Pasquill contained official information ranging in sensitivity and classification, including seven documents classified as confidential and three documents classified as restricted.