Security and Ethical Standards

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th July 1988.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow 12:00 am, 4th July 1988

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service whether, in the light of recent leaks of correspondence between, and internal briefings for, Ministers, he proposes to issue any further guidance to the Civil Service about security and ethical standards; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham

No. The note on the duties and responsibilities of civil servants to Ministers, issued in December 1987 by the head of the home Civil Service, gives clear guidance to officials on their obligation to keep the confidences arising in the course of their work. It also sets out the procedures to be followed should officials find themselves in ethical dilemmas.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow

Can the House and the Civil Service be told whether the right hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) was correct, or incorrect, to tell the pupils of St. Edward's school, Oxford, the source of the letter intended to discredit him in the Westland affair, which was then published in the school magazine? The source was the Prime Minister. Was the right hon. Gentleman right, or wrong?

Photo of Mr Richard Luce Mr Richard Luce , Shoreham

I have to admit that I do not have time to read every school magazine. If I did, I would not be doing my job properly. We have been over this ground with the hon. Gentleman time and again during the past two and a half years. Answers have been given and there is nothing further or useful that I can say, and certainly not about that school magazine.