I am glad to say that reports on this subject have been much exaggerated. Nevertheless, I very much deplore, as I am sure will all responsible people, any attempt, however unsuccessful it may be, to hamper and impede the important and necessary work of our security services. Steps have been taken to minimise the effectiveness of any such attempts.
I do not think that they are very serious. I have been given the information that at the beginning of this month an anonymous caller telephoned one of the buildings used by the security services on about eight occasions. The duration of each call was a few seconds only. The calls were either abusive or obscene. On another occasion there was the story of a reporter who declined to give his name and called at the address and who asked for an interview. These calls were on matters of that order of significance. They were a nuisance rather than a danger.
Can the Prime Minister assist the House by telling hon. Members whether these headquarters are of importance or not? If they are not of importance, one could understand that these calls do not matter. But after the recent revelations about what goes on in the security services of the country I do not think that we ought to be complacent about this. If these headquarters are of importance, should not the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he is taking effective steps to keep the numbers secret so that even obscene callers do not interfere with the work there?
With regard to the second part of what worries the right hon. Gentleman, I will give the most specific assurance. With regard to the first part, it may perhaps be found possible to get over the difficulty by changing the numbers.
The Prime Minister has said that these reports are exaggerated. Can he tell the House whether it is or is not true that, according to the Guardian, there was an occasion on which the whole of the 40 telephone lines of Military Intelligence were blocked for eight hours, with the result that they could not take incoming or outgoing calls? Will the Prime Minister say whether this happened or not, and, secondly, whether any steps have been taken to prevent that happening in future?