Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Aylesbury, Conservative)
We have today made the fourth tranche of files available for the public to view at the National Archives (TNA) at Kew. This marks the halfway point. I am pleased to confirm that we remain on track to complete the transfer of the entire collection of files to TNA by the end of 2013 as per the schedule published on the FCO website. As promised, we have kept redactions to an absolute minimum. I am very grateful to the independent reviewer, Professor Anthony Badger, for overseeing this work with such care and commitment.
It remains the case that the FCO is still unable to confirm the existence or destruction of 170 boxes of top secret colonial administration files known to have been returned to the UK. There is some evidence that the Singapore top secret colonial administration files were destroyed as part of a review of FCO post files in the 1990s. The FCO continues to search for these files or for further evidence of their destruction.
The work on the colonial files has, regrettably, caused a short-term backlog in the regular annual transfer of some FCO departmental files from 1981 and 1982. Additional staff resource has been allocated to tackle this. We will publish on the FCO website a timetable to transfer the remaining 1981 and 1982 files between 2013 and 2015.
In his statement to the House on