Departmental Select Committees (Memoranda)

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th January 1988.

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Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen , Nottingham North 12:00 am, 11th January 1988

To ask the Attorney-General how many memoranda (a) the Law Officers and (b) the Lord Chancellor have submitted to the departmental Select Committees since 1979.

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells

No central record is maintained in either Department of evidence submitted to departmental Select Committees. There is no record of a Law Officer having submitted such a memorandum, but on one occasion written questions which had been addressed to a Law Officer were answered by letter. Inquiries indicate that since 1979 four memoranda have been submitted by the Lord Chancellor's Department.

Photo of Graham Allen Graham Allen , Nottingham North

Why is there not a Select Committee covering the work of the Attorney-General's Department?

Photo of Michael Mates Michael Mates , East Hampshire

Has not the action in pursuing the "Spycatcher" saga been entirely justified by the subsequent—

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. That relates to the previous question. We are now on question 28.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

Has the Attorney-General's Department never submitted a memorandum on the operation of the Official Secrets Act? Does it intend in the near future to submit a memorandum on the operation of that Act? Prior to the debate on Friday, can we expect a statement on the Government's proposals for reform of that legislation?

Photo of Sir Patrick Mayhew Sir Patrick Mayhew , Tunbridge Wells

The answer to the first two questions is no. The answer to the third question is that that is a matter for the Home Secretary.