Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
That means that we shall not get any statement for many months. Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance, first, that the report of the Privy Councillors, when it is presented, will not be too savagely censored by the Prime Minister, and, secondly, that it will be published, if necessary, during the Recess and not held up until the House reassembles?
Does the right hon. Gentleman recall the Prime Minister giving the House an assurance that the decision about what should be published would be left to the Privy Councillors themselves? Will he confer with his right hon. Friend and find out what the position is? Might I also ask him whether, assuming that the report is published during the Recess, the Government will find time for a debate in the first week after we resume?
The latter point, I think, should be discussed through the usual channels, which we might do quite conveniently very soon so that we are able to consider debating this matter at the earliest possible opportunity, if necessary, after our return. With regard to the former point, the interests of the Privy Councillors are, of course, of paramount importance in publishing the document. We must be satisfied that they are satisfied with what is published, and we must also be satisfied that what is published is in the national interest.
The right hon. Gentleman has asked me to confer with my right hon. Friend, which I will willingly do. [HON. MEMBERS: "Confirm."] I will both confer and confirm with my right hon. Friend. I cannot divest Her Majesty's Government of all interest in what is published, because of the national interest, nor should I divest the Privy Councillors of the responsibility of publishing what they think is right.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say why there has been so much delay in coming to a conclusion on this apparently very simple matter? What is wrong with the Privy Councillors, with very great respect to them? Why is there all this hesitation in coming to a decision? In view of the delay and because we are going on holiday, or shall at least be in recess for three months, may we have an assurance that telephone tapping will be suspended during the Recess?
The answer to the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is. "No, Sir". In answer to the earlier part, I think the Privy Councillors have been extremely busy. They were appointed on 29th June, and as far as I know they have made excellent progress with their work. I cannot say anything beyond that.