Civil Service (Information Management)

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th January 1988.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow 12:00 am, 14th January 1988

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has issued any guidance on information management in the Civil Service, as a result of lessons learnt during and since the Westland affair; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow

I gave the Paymaster General's office four days' notice of my question in the hope of a considered reply. Does the Minister dispute the enunciation by Sir Kenneth Clucas, who is a distinguished civil servant, that on 4 January the Prime Minister put Sir Robert Armstrong in a very difficult position, and that it was unethical for the Cabinet Secretary to embark on an inquiry to which he knew the answer before he started?

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Party Chair, Conservative Party

I have nothing to add to what has already been said by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, and other Ministers, in statements and in reply to questions.

Photo of Mr Tony Marlow Mr Tony Marlow , Northampton North

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the system of information control within the Civil Service is sufficiently robust to prevent the leaking of unauthorised information to the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell)? If not, will he do something about it?

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Party Chair, Conservative Party

I think that my hon. Friend will agree that his question had a rhetorical purpose, and that rhetorical purpose was caught.