"Who Framed Colin Wallace"

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd June 1989.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow 12:00 am, 22nd June 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has acquired for the Library, "Who Framed Colin Wallace", by Paul Foot, published by the second Earl of Stockton.

Photo of Mr Ian Stewart Mr Ian Stewart The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

No, Sir. However, I understand that there are already two copies in the Library.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow

Why does the Minister suppose that Colin Wallace has come to be believed by the publishing house of Macmillan and its libel lawyers, by the late Airey Neave, who was happy to have information from Cohn Wallace, and by raging Left-wingers such as the hereditary Earl Marshall, his grace the Duke of Norfolk?

Photo of Mr Ian Stewart Mr Ian Stewart The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

I cannot answer for publishers or many of the other groups of people whom the hon. Gentleman has mentioned. As far as I know, the allegations that have been repeated in the book concerning the conduct of various persons have been fully investigated over a long period in the past. On the responsibilities of my own Department, I am not aware of anything in the book that would justify any further inquiry.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Blaenau Gwent

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate, as he might expect from the names on the Order Paper, that the book is first, extremely well published and, secondly, extremely well written and that it will, therefore, be far better than most of the stuff he and his Secretary of State have to submit to during the week? Will he also tell us in detail whether his Department was consulted about the letter that appears in the book which was addressed to the Prime Minister and which set out in detail the reasons why there should have been a proper investigation into the matter and why the demands for an investigation would continue? Was the Prime Minister's failure to reply based on any evidence from his Department?

Photo of Mr Ian Stewart Mr Ian Stewart The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

The right hon. Gentleman's reference to the authorship of the book is a form of benevolent nepotism, which he is entitled to use. The contents of the book and all the allegations raised by Mr. Wallace have been investigated separately by the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Sir George Terry and Judge Hughes, and none of the allegations have been found to stand up. Mr. Wallace was given the opportunity to give evidence himself to those inquiries, but despite the fact that he was given assurances that he would not be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1911, he refused to do so. The House can draw its own conclusions from that.

Photo of Mr Kevin McNamara Mr Kevin McNamara , Kingston upon Hull North

Only the conclusions of the Terry report were published—not the evidence. When will the public be allowed to judge whether the conclusions follow from the evidence?

Photo of Mr Ian Stewart Mr Ian Stewart The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

I regard that as a serious slur on Sir George Terry.