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Mr. Barron: Does the hon. Gentleman recall the press reports about another case emerging from the East German Stasi files, that of Professor Vic Allen, who was based in west Yorkshire at the university? He had been on the central committee of CND, had been spying on the organisation, and had reported back to the East Germans. In the light of the hon. Gentleman's interests before entering the House, does he approve of Professor Allen's actions?
However, on the specific question of membership of Select Committees and access to classified information, I am not aware that there was ever a case of a Member of Parliament leaking such information. From the files, I have learned that certain individuals, such as Professor Allen, Dr. Robin Pearson and others, behaved disgracefully. I think that some of them should have been prosecuted, but the Government, in their wisdom, have decided that that should not be done. None the less, I believe that the document from which I have quoted confirms the importance of the comment made by the hon. Member for Workington, namely, that we have to have some safeguards to ensure that the people who are appointed to sensitive parliamentary Committees are reliable.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: I became a member of CND in 1978--I am not sure whether I still am a member--and I am a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee. The idea that someone might think that they had an interest in me because I have been a member of CND is utterly ludicrous. The problem is that the hon. Gentleman compartmentalises people: he presumes that because one had a view on nuclear weapons in the 1970s and 1980s, one falls within a group who would necessarily be targeted because they were somehow disloyal to the state. He is completely wrong and he misunderstands the British Labour movement.
Dr. Lewis: I hope that when the hon. Gentleman reads carefully what I said in Hansard, he will see that I am not making that mistake. I am saying that we have to expect that people who were attempting to find out illicitly sensitive, classified and, if possible, "COSMIC" top-secret information, hoped that by working through Members of Parliament who were sympathetic in some respects--although not necessarily all the important respects--with their point of view they might progress their nefarious aims. That is why the hon. Gentleman's remarks about the need for some protection with regard to those appointed to such Committees are apposite.
Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Inverclyde): Speaking as a member of Scottish CND and of the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that, whether I am on the files of MI5 or the Stasi or not, I have never heard of any approach by SCND to Scottish Labour Members of this House of the sort that he suggested a few moments ago, before he started on his qualification.
Dr. Lewis: The hon. Gentleman is tempting me to do what I hoped I would not have to do. I am delighted to be able to say that a lady who is the president of Scottish CND, Marjorie Thompson, is a close personal friend of mine. We have always disagreed about nuclear weapons. She has stated publicly--this is why I am prepared to state it in the House--that one reason why she withdrew from
I will end as I began. A Security Service that does not have a counter-subversion capability is incomplete. In two successive years--I do not think that the Home Secretary was present when I pointed this out--we have had serious riots in the capital. On each occasion, the right hon. Gentleman has felt it necessary to bemoan the fact that those riots could not be contained as they should have been because of a lack of intelligence about what was going to happen.
We are not living in an age in which the police alone can hope to penetrate the electronic communications that are being used in encrypted form to organise such demonstrations. Therefore, I renew--possibly for the third year in a row--my plea to the Home Secretary to think again about the closing down of F branch and about the need for a counter-subversion arm to the Security Service, MI5.
Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East): The money may or may not have come from Stalin's gold, but it is interesting that the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis), with his decades of magnificent, or otherwise, obsession, seems to think that the definition of subversion would include a body that asks people to vote tactically in elections, including those in the New Forest. That same obsession runs him close to the danger of smearing all those who have been linked with CND.
The hon. Gentleman and I come from the same city of Swansea. Indeed, he claims that as a boy in a local school he sat at my feet when I gave a lecture. He is a most assiduous researcher, but even his researches have not discovered that, for a brief period when I was an undergraduate, I was press secretary of Swansea CND. Shortly after, I was recruited into the senior branch of the Foreign Service and I have a higher security classification than he has had. Therefore, he must be a little careful when he nears the boundary of smearing people who have taken a certain interest in nuclear disarmament. Along that road lies the investigator and matters about which any democrat would have to be very wary indeed.
The hon. Gentleman and I have one thing in common. I think that we are the only two hon. Members to have spoken who are not in the ring of secrecy--that charmed circle. The debate has been rather like a nostalgic goodbye party. We heard the excellent valedictory dispatch from the right hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) and the helpful personal pilgrimages and observations of those who have served on the Intelligence and Security Committee.
I think that the right hon. Gentleman used the words "initial nervousness" to describe the attitude of some of those in the security establishment. I pay him this tribute: if one were devising an identikit CV for someone to chair that Committee, his background and the senior offices of state that he has held would offer the exact description of
The only discord was in the speech of the right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude). I would dearly love to comment on and answer his obsession with Europe and the European army. I will not do so, save to say that he mentioned the Foreign Affairs Committee's report on the Balkans after Milosevic, which was published this week. He was quoted yesterday as saying that the report was "an indictment" of the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz). In a serious report of 190 paragraphs, it contained but two sentences on my hon. Friend in one paragraph. In that context, perhaps we may put the right hon. Gentleman's judgment in perspective.
I shall make one further comment before I come to the main part of my speech, which relates to the Foreign Affairs Committee. As the hon. Member for East Hampshire (Mr. Mates) said in his excellent speech, the threat has changed. When I was being recruited for another organisation many years ago--as it was 40 years ago, this is probably outside the limits of the Official Secrets Acts--we were given an introductory lecture on security.
At that time, the lecturer would choose a text and sermonise on it. The text was something about the devil thine enemy roaming about seeking to devour whom he might find. The person giving us the lecture said that in one's first posting overseas, one would never know who the senior Soviet agent would be. He continued "In my first posting overseas, the senior Soviet agent was my head of chancery, Donald Maclean."
To show how times have changed, a couple of years ago I met General Klaus Naumann, who was then the senior European officer in NATO, who told me that following the founding Act, one member of the Russian group at NATO headquarters was caught involving himself in--let us call them--clandestine activities. General Naumann called the head of the Russian delegation to him and said, "That behaviour is quite unacceptable, but this is the material that your colleague was seeking. Do have leave to open it and see what it is."
Times have indeed changed, and the threat, as the hon. Member for East Hampshire mentioned, comes from various terrorist organisations, asymmetric warfare, such as that conducted by the hacker, and so on. It is a turbulent and multifaceted threat that our people face.
I shall now put on my hat as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and speak about our activities and our relationship with the security services. Although the Committee has found over the four years of this Parliament that the Government are co-operative with its inquiries--I pay great tribute not only to the Foreign Secretary and Foreign Office, but to diplomats overseas for the way that they have helped the Committee in its inquiries--there has been one notable area where that has not been the case.
Requests for evidence on intelligence matters have not been met forthrightly. The Committee is appointed under the Standing Orders of the House to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and any associated public bodies.